So you’ve decided to become the next president of the United States. In terms of career forecasts, there are probably better choices for ambitious, service-minded college students. The perks of presidenting are solid with good food options and lots of travel, but with a fairly low starting salary and having the Secret Service following you around all the time, you should think twice before considering living in the middle of one of the worst traffic jams in the continental USA. We’re looking at you, Dupont Circle. If you still have your heart set on becoming a future President of the United States, you should remember that you don’t even have to have a college degree. That’s right, you can join the illustrious ranks of Harry S. Truman and Abraham Lincoln, who made out just fine for themselves without a college degree. But just in case your run for the presidency doesn’t work out, you can still fall back on a great education from these top POTUS-producing schools.
Seven presidents have matriculated at Harvard University or one of its graduate schools which is slightly less impressive when you consider that Harvard University predates the country by more than 100 years. Both Adams and both Roosevelts were Harvard men, as was John F. Kennedy. George W. Bush attended Harvard Business School, while Barack Obama graduated from Harvard Law School. Of the current crop of presidential hopefuls, only Ted Cruz attended Harvard, obtaining his J.D. from the law school in 1995.
Taft, Ford, both Bushes, and Bill Clinton all called New Haven, Connecticut home before going on to the presidency, as did Hillary Clinton, graduating from Yale Law School in 1973. As the third-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States, Yale’s law school has also produced a large number of U.S. Supreme Court justices. Fun fact, just like the presidency, one does not even need to be a lawyer to become a Supreme Court justice.
The United States Military Academy at West Point’s graduates are among the Who’s Who of U.S. history: Sherman, MacArthur, Patton, and Schwarzkopf, as well as presidents Ulysses S. Grant and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Admission to West Point is highly selective, with fewer than 13% of applicants making it in as freshmen or “plebes” as they’re colloquially called. While West Point represents a serious (and contractual) commitment to both education and country, it also has the benefit of having some of the most storied traditions in college life, including a highly elevated prank game.
James Madison and Woodrow Wilson both attended Princeton, although Madison matriculated back when Princeton was the much-less-presidential-sounding College of New Jersey. Princeton’s educational mission was briefly interrupted during the American Revolution, when British soldiers occupied Nassau Hall. Princeton has also graduated its fair share of Supreme Court justices, current First Lady Michelle Obama, and presidential hopeful Ted Cruz, who attended as an undergraduate.
Presidents have come from Amherst, Bowdoin, Columbia, and Dickinson, and without formal schooling, so remember that no matter where you choose to go to college, you can still make 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue your home, if you can make it through Dupont Circle!