Where Did These Celebrity TV Characters Go to College?


Who doesn’t love TV?

Well, even if you don’t turn on that flat screen, you still probably catch up with your favorite shows on Netflix.

If you do, do you pay attention to the educational background of the characters?

You probably don’t, but if you do, you might learn some new information or crazy trivia about the celebrity TV characters or the colleges around the country.

Here’s a list of fictional characters from TV shows, where they went to college, and what they majored in.

They’ll give you something fun to read and they’ll give you some idea where to go to college if you ever want to feel like a math genius or prance around with a book like a sophisticated bookworm.

Rory Gilmore (Gilmore Girls)


Rory Gilmore went to Yale University- image source: teen.com

Character Played by: Alexis Bledel

College Attended: Yale University

Degree Earned: English & Journalism

One of the most iconic bookworms in fictional TV history, Rory Gilmore had always wanted to go to Harvard University, but before her college years, she attends a fictional high school, Chilton Academy.

There, Rory displays her academic brilliance and even writes for the student paper.

She becomes valedictorian, and eventually goes to Yale University because of the college’s benefits and the fact that it was her grandfather’s alma mater.

Like in high school, she also writes for the Yale school paper and eventually becomes an editor.

She makes use of Yale’s powerful alumni network and gets an internship at a newspaper.

She eventually graduates with honors and gets a job offer as a reporter.

Rory’s character is very fitting for Yale, which has always been Harvard’s long-time rival (Yale was built by Harvard graduates who became unsatisfied with Harvard’s new liberalism).

Also, Yale University has produced graduates that actually founded TIME magazine: Britton Hadden & Henry Luce.

TIME was the first weekly magazine in the country, so Rori’s eventual job ties in perfectly to her alma mater.

Leslie Knope (Parks and Recreation)


Leslie Knope went to Indiana University – image source: bustle.com

Character Played by: Amy Poehler

College Attended: Indiana University

Degree Earned: Public & Environmental Affairs

Parks & Recreation may be a comedy, but Leslie’s credentials are not something to laugh at (even though she is a fictional character).

As a student of a fictional Pawnee North High School, she served as co-vice president in several clubs before graduating with honors.

She then attended Indiana University, where she graduated summa cum laude from the university’s School of Public & Environmental Affairs (this is a real college, this time).

It is hinted during the last episode that this super achiever eventually became the president of the United States.

Indiana University is a public university system, with more than 100,000 students from all campuses (which tells you that its college parties are wild and huge).

It’s a fitting college for Leslie who has a bubbling personality and has big ambitions.

According to the show, Leslie is also a big Hoosiers fan.

You’ll probably remember the Hoosiers movie about an underdog high school team that persevered amid the obstacles, just like Leslie.

Carrie Mathison (Homeland)


Carrie Mathison went to Princeton University – image source: pinterest

Character Played by: Claire Danes

College Attended: Princeton University

Degree Earned: Arabic Languages

For her role as a CIA agent in Homeland, Danes received a lot of major awards:

  • Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama
  • Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
  • Prime-time Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
  • and more

Whew! That’s a lot of awards for a single role!

What is it about Carrie Mathison anyway?

Not much is talked about Carrie’s younger days in academics, but she is a graduate of Princeton University, with a degree in Arabic Languages.

It was during her studies at Princeton that she was recruited by the CIA.

Carrie is no straight-laced heroine, though. She struggles through a bipolar disorder and moments of nervous breakdowns.

She does manage to get to the academic world, though. After she is dismissed from the CIA, she worked as an English as a Second Language teacher.

Although CIA agents don’t get actual fame for their work (‘cause secrecy is their life), Princeton University has actually produced several alumni who were soldiers, intelligence agents, and forensic authorities.

One of them was David Petraeus, who went to Princeton for his master’s and doctor’s degree in international relations.

He went on to become the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from 2011 to 2012.

Before that, he was also in the military and saw some action in Iraq.

The show’s creators most likely knew this as two of them, Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon, were both graduates of Princeton.

Liz Lemon (30 Rock) 


Liz Lemon went to college at University of Maryland – image source: huffington post

Character Played by: Tina Fey

College Attended: University of Maryland on a partial jazz scholarship

Degree Earned: Theater Tech

Liz Lemon is as funny and wacky as the actor that plays her.

In the story, she is a creator and writer of a comedy-sketch show called The Girlie Show or TGS with Tracy Jordan.

In reality, Tina Fey herself is the creator and executive producer of 30 Rock. The role has won her many awards.

Liz mentions in the show that she was a nerd in high school, when the truth is she was the school bully.

She attended the University of Maryland on a partial jazz dance scholarship. She studied Theater Tech as well.

Unfortunately, she still has a really huge student loan, like many college students today.

The University of Maryland has a rich theater program, and although Tina Fey had gone to the University of Virginia, she certainly knows that Maryland U gives its students many opportunities to perform.

Harvey Specter (Suits)


Harvey Specter went to Harvard University – image source: usanetwork.com

Character Played by: Gabriel Macht

College Attended: Harvard University

Degree Earned: Law

Suits gets a special spot here because the law firm where the main characters work only accept graduates from Harvard Law – that’s how specific they are!

In fact, the main problem of one of the main characters, Mike Ross, is that he isn’t a college graduate, much less a Harvard Law student (but he’s a genius, so he gets a pass).

Harvey actually began at the New York University, until his boss paid for him to go to Harvard University.

It can be noted that when TV shows or films want to emphasize that a character is really smart or had gone to a prestigious college, the go-to name is usually Harvard.

It’s also shown that Harvey is one of the country’s top “closer” – he makes sure that the enemy will always settle and that the case will never (or hardly ever) get to court.

US News and World Reports rank Harvard as No. 2 in terms of Law School, but it has ranked No. 1 in the world by QS World University Rankings.

Spencer Reid (Criminal Minds)


Spencer Reid went to college at CalTech – image source: buzzfeed.com

Character Played by: Matthew Gray Gubler

College Attended: California Institute of Technology (CalTech)

Degree Earned: Psychology, Sociology, Philosophy (BA); Chemistry, Engineering, Mathematics (PhD)

The last on this list is the most prolific college student ever. Spencer is part of the team of profiler’s of the Behavioral Analysis Unit.

You know the formula: in every mystery, suspense, thriller show, there’s always the genius.

Dr. Spencer Reid fits that bill.

According to the show, he’s a genius with an eidetic memory, who graduated from high school at 12 years of age.

He is 23 years old at the beginning of the season and has a hard time shutting up.

Cal Tech was always Reid’s first choice, and his safety school? Yale University.

But it’s not so surprising for a genius like Reid who specializes in science and math.

CalTech is a selective, private university, which emphasizes science and engineering.

It’s No. 9 in Best Value Schools and No. 12 in National Universities.

Furthermore, other genius characters on TV shows are shown having a connection to CalTech.

Just like the main characters of the sit-com The Big Bang Theory, where nerds Sheldon Cooper, Leonard Hofstadter, Howard Wolowitz, and Raj Koothrappali work in the different departments at CalTech.

Rob Clark

SchoolCampus.org admin staff managing editor

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