Ben Affleck and Barack Obama Dropped out of the Same College

Most people consider in high school what to do with the rest of their lives. This includes which college to go to and what degree to pursue. Celebrities have the same decision to make, even if they are already on the path to fame — however, it takes more than smarts to be successful, as the experiences of Ben Affleck and Barack Obama clearly show. That’s because both attended the same college, and both dropped out.

Ben Affleck and Barack Obama both dropped out of Occidental College

Barack Obama and Ben Affleck
Pictured: Ben Affleck and Barack Obama. | Paul Redmond/WireImage/Netflix

Los Angeles is a huge liberal arts community, and it’s no wonder the beautiful campus of Occidental College is situated within its grasp. The college has seen many actors run through its halls to attend classes. More than 10 producers, actors, and directors have been awarded Oscars for their performances after attending Occidental College. The college has grown in popularity since Obama’s successful presidential election. The small liberal college is proud to produce Oscar winners and many political success stories.

Why did Obama and Affleck drop out?

Ben Affleck attended the college and produced his first student film while enrolled as a student; he left in 1994 to pursue his acting career. The first job out of college he starred in was the film Glory Daze (1995). He became better known after his movie with Matt Damon, Good Will Hunting (1997). Both Damon and Affleck had worked on the screenplay together while living in an apartment in Los Angeles during their college days. Affleck left college the same year the screenplay was finished and offered it for sale to Castle Rock. He was awarded an honorary degree in Fine Arts in 2013 after his long list of entertainment accomplishments.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama spent two formative years within the walls of Occidental College. While attending Occidental, Obama became the man who would later become a political leader. Attributing the college to helping him grow up, Obama remembers the college and his lifelong friends with fondness. He left the college to pursue a higher degree at Columbia University. After graduating from college, Obama began working as a community organizer in Chicago and continued to climb the political ladder to President.

‘Dropping out’ of college doesn’t necessarily mean failure

Most celebrities are judged by the public based on the roles they have been given. Some are thought to be dumb, goofy, or lucky to have the roles they got. However, as listed by BuzzFeed, many actors have degrees in law, medicine, chemical engineering, and other impressive fields. While it may shock you to learn who holds these degrees, it also shows that acting does not mean a person is not intelligent. Both Obama and Affleck have left their college days and made a name for themselves, like so many before them.


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The failures do not mean the men are not intelligent, in fact, nothing can be further from the truth.  Statistics are forced to show they did not complete the degree that they were enrolled for. Colleges only account for the completion of newly enrolled students in their graduation statistics. Because Affleck did not finish his degree, they reported him as incomplete. Obama was also reported as incomplete because colleges do not track the progress of transferred students.

No matter the degree of completion of college obtained, both men are considered college failures by the system. Affleck failed to complete his college degree and went on to become a famous actor and director. Obama was considered a failure, according to The Washington Post, because he transferred to another college. Colleges report only the freshmen’s statistics that stay at the college. Dropping out or transferring colleges may lead to being labeled a college failure, but that does not mean they are not intelligent and won’t do well in life.