It’s a strange headline to imagine: Miley Cyrus attends Harvard University, or, Taylor Swift Feels Pressure to Attend Elite College. Celebrities often claim to be just like an average person, minus the money, beauty, and fame, but it’s pretty hard to believe that they understand what we teenagers go through, especially the numerous academic and social pressures. Can someone like Beyonce or Zac Efron, People Magazine’s “World’s Most Beautiful People” winners in 2012, understand what it’s like for the rest of us? 
A huge part of being a high-schooler is the looming doom of college – where the questions “what do you think you want to do?” or “what schools have you been looking at?” never seem to end. And for many celebrities, graduating or even attending college isn’t the norm.
Sure, there are the Natalie Portman or Jake Gyllenhaal types, who went to Harvard and Columbia, respectively. But most are more similar to California’s former governor and famous actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who attended a small community college in Santa Monica.
Though many celebrities choose to opt out of higher education, those that do apply to college seem to have a greater advantage because of their fame – James Franco, an actor who attended UCLA and Yale, sticks out for me, for example. Similarly, many celebrities who went to college before they were famous often didn’t go to the nation’s top universities – instead opting for many community and state colleges. 
With all the emphasis on elite education present in today’s society, the rich and famous frequently put forward a very different point. They are living proof that the name of your college isn’t everything – and that’s a hard lesson to grasp when you are a teenager in high school with a whole lot of teachers and adults who say otherwise.
Sure, we all don’t want to become famous actors, and going to a good school certainly helps us along to our chosen path of success. But it’s not the end of the world if we don’t get into a “Top 10” school. It is possible to achieve one’s goals without the “Ivy League education” on a resume, and the celebrity idols in pop culture show us that this is true.
 I don’t think I’ll ever find famous people to be entirely relatable to my everyday problems, but the idea that a college name is not a “make it or break it” thing is something I find real comfort in, and hopefully, you do too.
Caie Kelley is a Junior in high school, a gold medal swimmer, piano teacher, and a co-host/reporter on the radio program, Express Yourself!™  
As the editor and teen coach for Teen Scene for the newspaper, Cynthia Brian has had the opportunity to work with talented teens with attitude and opinions. She shares selected published works. To read numerous articles shepherded by Cynthia, visit Cynthia Brian also produces Express Yourself!™ on Voice America Kids Network heard Tuesdays NOON PT at or for photos, descriptions, links, and more visit