Everybody’s busy. If you’re trying to juggle family and career, there are only so many hours in a day, regardless of where you work. This really presents a problem if you decide to go back to school, because now you have to add yet ONE MORE thing to your already overloaded day.

Which is why so many people chose to get their college degrees online. Since distance learning has become extremely popular many of the old school, diehard, brick-and-mortar colleges and universities now offer the same degree programs online (and in some cases with the same instructors) that you’d get if you commuted to campus and personally showed up for class.

This makes it handy for the busiest of people to successfully go back to school—so much so that even the rich and famous are discovering the convenience of online education. Several well-known people have taken advantage of this concept, which dates back longer than you may think. To illustrate how everybody has to budget their time and money (just like the rest of us) check out how these high-profile people figured out a way to fit college into their busy schedules with the help of distance learning and online classes.

  1. Arnold Schwarzenegger
  2. Politician, Actor; University of Wisconsin
    Distance learning is actually nothing new. Before the Internet many colleges offered legitimate degrees through correspondence coursework—and University of Wisconsin was one of those schools. Back in the ‘70s Mr. Schwarzenegger studied International Fitness Marketing (via distance learning) and received his degree from that institution in 1979. He then put that knowledge to good use when President George H.W. Bush appointed him as chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness during the 1990s.

  3. Shaquille O’Neal
  4. NBA Player; University of Phoenix
    Shaquille O’Neal left the Louisiana State his junior year (without a degree) to join the NBA. Disappointed that he chose NBA glitz over a college education his mother made him promise to one day finish his degree, which he did. Through distance learning at LSU he completed his bachelor’s in business, and then went on to get his MBA online at the University of Phoenix.

  5. Didiayer Snyder
  6. Designer on ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition; Ashworth College
    Even though hers is not a household name, Didiayer Synder is associated with houses. As a designer on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, she calls the shots on what colors to use and which walls to knock down. She received her degrees in interior design and carpentry via online from Ashworth College.

  7. Marcia Cross
  8. Actor; University of Antioch
    Known for playing the ever-uptight Bree Hodge on Desperate Housewives, Marcia Cross graduated from Julliard in New York with a degree in acting. After her career successfully took off she decided to go back to school. As a result, she received her master’s in psychology from Antioch University (in L.A.) by way of taking classes online to complete her course studies.

  9. Mary Peters
  10. Former Secretary of Transportation; University of Phoenix
    A lifelong proponent of public service, Mary Peters served on the Arizona Board of Public Transportation in the mid ‘80s, and was eventually appointed by the governor of Arizona as its director. She later worked in Washington, D.C., as the Administrator for the Federal Highway Administration, and in 2006 President George W. Bush appointed her the Secretary of Transportation. Ms. Peters got her degree in management from the University of Phoenix.

Other honorable mention celebrities that have used distance learning to help them achieve their degrees include actor James Franco, who finished up his studies at UCLA with online classes and now utilizes Columbia’s distance learning program; NBA player Jalen Rose, who received his bachelor’s in management via online classes from University of Maryland; and rapper Lil’ Wayne, who is currently taking classes online from University of Houston with the goal of obtaining a degree in political science.

Whether you’re a celebrity or not, going back to college (or starting it if you’ve never been) is always a good idea. But with everything we have going on in our lives making that commitment can be a little scary. Getting over that hump, and finally enrolling, is never easy. But once you do, that alone makes you a rock star.

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