Miranda Cosgrove: From ‘iCarly’ Starlet To USC Student

MTV News rounds up famous folks who put aside their careers to go to college and what they had to say about it.

Miranda Cosgrove plans to attend college this fall after she wraps up shooting the final season of her hit Nickelodeon show “iCarly.” Cosgrove felt that at 19, it’s the right time to take on some new experiences and live life as a co-ed at the University of Southern California.
“I was picking between USC and NYU and I really love New York, so I had really wanted to go to NYU. But I love acting, so I want to stay in L.A., so I can act at the same time,” she explained to MTV News earlier this week.

“USC is cool because they have a lot of programs where they help you. I’m hoping I can figure it all out,” she continued. “My dad went to USC and it always had been very important to me and my family. And I kind of always thought I loved acting and always wanted to do that, but always had it in the back of my mind that I was going to go to college. It’s just a good experience, and all my friends and my family think it’ll be really cool for me. I love school. I’m excited to be on a campus and explore new things that I might like.”

Cosgrove is hardly the first Hollywood heavyweight to pursue a college education after achieving a successful career. In fact, a number of A-listers have taken on the role of student while in their prime in LaLa Land. MTV News is rounding up some of the most famous faces to grace a college campus and what they had to say about their experiences. (Cosgrove might want to take notes.)

Natalie Portman attended Harvard University beginning in 1999. She majored in psychology and graduated in 2003. It seems that going to school had an effect on her psyche leading up to her Oscar-winning performance in “Black Swan.”

“I gained my freshman 15 or 20 and had super-depressed moments,” she told Vogue about the experience. “That Cambridge winter is tough. It was important to know how to go through that and how to get myself out of it. You start learning how to ask your friends or professionals for help, or go to mentors.”

At the height of Julia Stiles‘ career in 2000, she attended Columbia University, where she studied English literature. She opened up about making the transition from actress to focused student in a 2003 interview with Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show.” “I’m a very good student. I always do all the reading and I come to class prepared and very engaged,” she said. Despite being in her junior year at the time, she added, “I’m done with school, mentally at least.” She did graduate eventually and returned to her acting career.

Claire Danes attended Yale University and studied psychology. Oliver Stone wrote her letter of recommendation to the prestigious university, which her father had also attended. In a vintage interview, Danes revealed that Jodie Foster convinced her to attend school and hoped that her fellow students could help her adjust to student life.

“I was a really serious student before I started acting and know how hard I worked. I put all of my energy into my schooling, and I stopped doing that because there was no way I could be doing all the other things,” she told the Chicago Tribune in 1997. “Now I’m going to be in a group of people who continued to go down the path I was planning on going down when I was 13 — they’ll probably be in a different league — but hopefully my roommate will help me out.” We assume no one was willing to help since she dropped out after only two years.

The Olsen twins also had a short-lived academic career. They both entered NYU in 2004. Mary-Kate left one year later and Ashley also stopped attending, though it’s unclear at what point she stopped enrolling.

“We’re so short and tiny. We can’t be going to college!” Mary-Kate told People back in 2004 about making the transition from actress to student. “I can’t live on my own!” On having the chance to study a myriad of topics, she added, “I feel like we’ve walked into a candy store. We have so much to choose from.” They eventually chose being actresses and fashion moguls over finishing their education.

James Franco has been enrolled in seemingly every school forever. Well, more specifically, he has been enrolled in programs at Columbia, NYU, Brooklyn College, Yale and the Rhode Island School of Design at any given time. He laughed off one of the major perils of being famous and in school: a candid shot of him sleeping in class taken by a classmate that ended up on the Internet.

“You could see I was working very hard. … I’m lazy,” he joked to David Letterman in 2010. “I really don’t know what they think. I know what one person thought. I got a weird email from a classmate once and she said she didn’t know why I was at the school, I had a career. … I get along with most of the faculty members. At NYU, it was great. They taught me a ton there. … But there was one teacher, I don’t know why, who didn’t like my stuff.”

Emma Watson didn’t go to Brown University for long, but her decision to go to the famed New England school spawned quite a few headlines back in 2009. She eventually left when she realized that her life as a celebrity was very different than that of the other students there.
“I was in denial,” Watson told Britain’s

Sunday Times Style Magazine in 2011 shortly after deciding to leave. “I wanted to pretend I wasn’t as famous as I was. I was trying to seek out normality, but I kind of have to accept who I am, the position I’m in and what happened.”

What do you think of famous actors who go to college after establishing their careers? Tell us in the comments.