Bill Gates says he doesn’t regret dropping out of Harvard

Bill gates harvard commencement
Bill Gates speaks at Harvard’s 2007 commencement, where he got his honorary degree almost three decades after dropping out. Darren McCollester/Getty Images

The story of Bill Gates is the stuff of legend: Despite pulling good grades, he dropped out of Harvard University in 1975 to go cofound Microsoft, setting him on the path to becoming the wealthiest man in the world.

In a new interview with Bloomberg, Gates says that he doesn’t have many regrets. He says he liked lots of things about college  — “there were smart people around, and they fed you, and they gave you these nice grades that made you feel smart” — but he doesn’t think he missed out on much.

“It was unfortunate that I didn’t get to stay there, but I don’t think I missed any knowledge, because whatever I needed to learn, I was still in a learning mode,” Gates says. 

In other words, Gates says that his well-known love of reading (he reads 50 books a year), taking online classes, and generally expanding his mind by any means available more than makes up for anything he missed out on at Harvard. 

“I’m kind a weird dropout because I take college courses all the time,” Gates says. “I love being a student.”

It also does seem like Gates has evolved his thinking on college — despite his own status as a dropout, his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has made affordable college eduction a big priority, even as it’s become a big point of policy for politicians. He recently said the value of a college degree is “easy to underestimate.” 

Besides, in 2007, Gates returned to Harvard to accept an honorary degree. 

On a final note, Gates’ good grades were even more impressive when you consider that he recently revealed that he never actually showed up to any of the Harvard classes he was registered for — he thought it was more fun to go to random other class sessions, and cram before finals for those classes he was actually enrolled in.

You can watch the full Bill Gates interview here:

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