14Have you ever got a grade you weren’t happy with and thought it would hinder your future prospects? Well, take a look at these celebrities who got a 2:2 or a third in their degrees at university and still went on to make a big name for themselves.

J.K Rowling

J.K Rowling: grade 2:2
Source: NBC News

Joanne Rowling or J.K Rowling as everybody knows her today is the author of the books that took the world by storm – the Harry Potter series. Before she became the worlds first billionaire author, Rowling attended the University of Exeter.

Whilst studying at university, she studied French and Classics, earning her a 2:2 grade when she graduated in 1986. Although she may have not achieved the highest grade in her degree, she went on to write the Harry Potter books which not only earned her millions, but it became a popular phenomenon around the world as she brought magic to life.

Prince Charles

Price Charles: grade 2:2
Source: Hello Magazine

Prince Charles isn’t exactly famous for the degree he graduated with (after all, he is our future King), but after attending the University of Cambridge in 1970, he didn’t graduate with the grade he expected to achieve.

In 1970, Charles was studying History, Archaeology and Anthropology and achieved a 2:2. He was the first monarch to complete a university degree. However, the grade he achieved (all though it may not be in the eyes of the Professors at the University of Cambridge) is still a good grade to achieve.

And no matter what he achieved, he is still our future King so all in all, he has not done too bad for himself…

Bear Grylls

Bear Grylls: grade 2:2
Source: The Independent

Many of you know him as the wild adventurer who can teach you anything to try and survive out there in the wild. By birth name he is Edward Michael Grylls (what an unusual name compared to Bear, right?), and since a child he took up climbing and sailing which set him for the man he is today.

However, as he was gaining these skills – as well as mastering his black belt before he was 20 years old – he studied Hispanic Studies at Birkbeck, University of London. Whilst there, he graduated with a 2:2 grade. However, this did not stop him as it was his shining personality and his perseverance that made him the man he is today as he said himself: “what helped me was understanding that hard work, persistence and enthusiasm are king.”

Carol Vorderman

Carol Vorderman:
Source: Metro

Whether you know her as the maths whiz from Countdown or even her stint from I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! Carol Vorderman has become a well-known figure to people of all ages here within the UK.

However, you may think she is one of the smartest people on TV, her results for her degree say otherwise. After attending the University of Cambridge in 1978, Vorderman graduated with a third in her degree after studying Engineering. This result didn’t stop her though!

Only a year after finishing university, she landed the role on the Channel 4 gameshow Countdown – a role that lasted until 2008.

Hugh Laurie

Hugh Laurie:
Source: YouTube

A British favourite of not only comedy but also Television and Cinema, Hugh Laurie has become one of the biggest British names. One of his most familiar roles is as Dr Gregory House in House, including other roles in Stuart Little, The Night Manager and even a stint in Friends.

We first came to know Laure in his comedic double act alongside Stephen Fry in Fry and Laurie. Both met each other when they were studying at the University of Cambridge. There he studied Archaeology and Anthropology (random, I know) and graduated with a third.

He proved, just like the other celebrities on this list you do not need a first or even a 2:1 grade from your degree as success is what you make of it…

Jo Whiley

Jo Whiley:
Source: The Times

Jo Whiley, one of the most successful names in Radio has an astounding career behind her including being the sole host for her own named Radio show, the Jo Whiley Show on BBC Radio 1.

However, she did not graduate from her degree with high first-class honours as after attending Brighton Polytechnic (now Brighton University), she graduated with a 2:2 in Applied Languages.

With her determination, during her final year of her degree, she landed a job on a show called Turn It Up which allowed anyone to get into radio. A year later, she attended a year-long course for City University London and landed her first job a researcher on a BBC Radio 4 youth culture and music show.

This just shows that something you thought you were meant to do, may not necessarily be what you end up doing…

A A Milne

A A Milne:
Source: BBC

A A Milne is the author that graced us with the novels about a little old bear obsessed with honey and lived in the hundred-acre wood with all his friends. Ring any bells yet? Yes, I am on about the beloved Winnie the Pooh.

During World War II, A A Milne was also the Captain of the British Home Guard. However, after attending the University of Cambridge in 1903, he only graduated with a third in his degree.

However, after getting inspiration from his none (funnily named Christopher Robin) he started to write Winnie the Pooh and the rest is history…

David Dimbleby

David Dimbleby:
Source: ITV

You may not know David Dimbleby, but for the past 40 years, Dimbleby has been the face for all political coverage on the BBC. Currently, he is the host for the prime political debate show Question Time – a role he has held for the last 24 years.

However, after attending the University of Oxford to study Philosophy, Politics and Economics, he only graduated with a third degree. Just like the celebrities on this list, although it didn’t work out for them at university with their grades for their degree, they still proved the others wrong by making a success of themselves with the hard work and dedication they put in.

Mel Giedroyc

Mel Giedroyc
Source: The Sun

If you don’t know Mel and Sue from the much-loved past Great British Bake Off series, then have you been living under a rock? Mel Giedroyc is of course half of this iconic British duo. Mel met Sue after both were studying at the University of Cambridge.

It is not fully understood what Mel studied whilst studying in Cambridge as it is between French and Italian or Italian Language and Literature. However, what is certain is she graduated with a 2:2.

Mel is a prime example that hard work pays off as although she did have some initial success on TV, her big break came in 2010 on the TV show Bake Off of course and from there, it all went up for Sue…

Sir Chris Hoy

Sir Chris Hoy
Source: Manchester Evening News

He is one of our most successful British Olympians as he has won six gold medals in track cycling, but Sir Chris Hoy was not as successful in his university days.

After studying Maths & Physics at St Andrews in Scotland, Hoy dropped out midway through his degree to pursue his love for bike riding. And did it pay off? Well, yes it did! Unlike the other celebrities in this list, Chris Hoy didn’t finish his degree.

However, this did not make a difference as what he was studying had nothing to do with his career as a top Olympian rider and one of Britain’s most successful Olympians.

So, there it is. Some of your favourite celebrities were not always the smartest or the luckiest. Even though they didn’t achieve the highest grades in their chosen (and in some cases not relatable to what they do now) degrees, it was their hard work and perseverance that paid off and got them where they are today.

Last Updated on August 4, 2022