Dakota Fanning graduates from high school, enrolls in college for fall


Occasionally, it’s nice to read about a truly down-to-earth actor or actress who isn’t just faking it while simultaneously stomping upon their resting laurels. Such is the case with Dakota Fanning, who is probably the most unaffected young starlet in all of Hollywood and who will most likely make a smooth transition from child star to adult actress. First things first though, for Dakota and her family have placed a great emphasis on the importance of education and living as much of a “normal” life as is humanly possible; that is, for a 17-year-old whose IMDb profile lists an impressive acting 45 credits to her name. Even more amazing is the fact that Dakota also participated in extracurricular activities too, particularly as a cheerleader as well as being voted both Homecoming Princess and Queen of her high school. Now, she’s graduated from high school (here’s a cap-and-gown photo that we don’t have access to), and she’s already made plans for college, so it’s time for a celebration:

Dakota Fanning donned a blue cap and gown at downtown L.A.’s Walt Disney Concert Hall on Monday — but this was no film shoot! The veteran child actress, now 17, attended her high school graduation ceremony with her classmates from North Hollywood private school Campbell Hall.

Despite her constant stream of film work (Hollywood took notice of her talent when she was just 6 years old in 2001′s I Am Sam) the Twilight Saga star and her family have endeavored to maintain a somewhat “normal” childhood. She was part of the varsity cheerleading squad, and was named homecoming queen two years in a row at Campbell Hall.

“I think it was really important to have the high school experience,” she said on the Today Show last fall. “I just think everyone always looks back on that time in their life. Who was homecoming princess and [did] the cheerleading … and all the things that go along with high school? And I wanted to have that. I’m really lucky that I found a school that allows me to do both.”

Next up, Fanning plans to enroll in New York University this fall.

[From Us Magazine]

See? I don’t think we’ll need to worry about Dakota pulling an Emma Watson after a year or two of undergrad either. Dakota will take things seriously and graduate because she’s used to the discipline of study (and the experience of school itself) instead of just dealing with an on-set tutor that came only in small doses. Nope, no “taking a break from college” for her. Or at least, I hope so.



Photos courtesy of Fame Pictures

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30 Responses to “Dakota Fanning graduates from high school, enrolls in college for fall”

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  1. aenflex says:

    Jeez ladies you are doing so many awesome people this morning. Itching to make a negative comment and I can’t, I adore Dakota. Wanna pinch her.

  2. leuce7 says:

    What a wonderful role model she is for young girls. And what great parents she must have (Lohans, I’m looking at you).

  3. brin says:

    Good for her!

  4. nnn says:

    Getting an education is very important.

    I wish Will Smith would put his girl back into some education system wether private, homseschool or at school.

  5. MarenGermany says:

    i feel old!
    Love her.

  6. Quest says:

    Dakota always had a good head on her shoulders and it is enlightening to see that she can manage being in the spotlight and having a structured lifestyle.

    She can acheive great things and become even greater without falling into the snares of Hollywood like other celebrity gal-pals

    Good for her

  7. lucy2 says:

    I have the utmost respect for how she and her family have handled her career and balanced it with a life outside of acting. If only every child star and stage parent were like that!

  8. Amie says:

    What is your deal with Emma Watson taking a break from college? So what if she doesn’t go back in a year, it’s her choice and it’s not like college is necessary for her at this point. Going to college doesn’t mean you’re not partying or that you’re taking things seriously especially when most kids are forced there by their parents when they’re 18. Let her make her own choices and if she starts pulling a Lohan chide her all you want but it’s seems really pathetic to hold a grudge because she’s taken a break from college. Sometimes college isn’t for everyone, I have a graduate degree and no job while my friend who dropped out in second year is now an events coordinator for one of the top 10 restaurants in North America.

  9. tango says:

    As if she wasn’t treated with kid gloves at her high school and given choices and opportunities a regular person wouldn’t have access too. I’m sure they cut her a lot of slack regarding attendence, grades and so on. She starting to get a Diva reputation when she doesn’t get her way.

    I’m sure she’ll be fine in college too. I wouldn’t diss Emma Watson for taking a break. Regular people do it all the time. College just isn’t a right fit for everyone.

  10. snappyfish says:

    Her parents must be thrilled. What a lovely young lady they are bringing up.

    The best wishes to her and her family

  11. LOVE ANGELINA says:

    Congrats to Dakota.

  12. Blue says:

    Awww she’s all grown up.

  13. bagladey says:

    I love this story, it lifts my spirits. Dakota is progressing so nicely. What a parenting success.

  14. MJ says:

    Who cares that Emma Watson dropped out of college? You make it seem like she didn’t finish high school. When you have very lucrative career options that won’t last forever, you have to jump on them. I think it just makes her smart… she can always finish her degree in a few years. Or not… she probably doesn’t ever have to work again, anyways.

  15. murt says:

    I thought Dakota already said that despite enrolling in college, she’s not planning to put her career on hold for school? I think she enrolled in NYU because of its flexible program.

    I’ve got no judgement either way – if I were in either Dakota’s or Emma’s positions I’d totally be taking time off from school here and there. Most people waste their undergrads partying anyway.

  16. dicktrix says:

    Or Dakota might be the NEXT girlfriend of Leo Di Caprio in the next 10 yrs LMAO!

  17. Ally says:

    I’ve always liked her. Thumbs up.

  18. elizabeth says:

    Congratulations to Dakota (I too feel old now) but re: Emma Watson, she’s not the 1st person to take a break from college or go for a year and drop out. I agree college isn’t for everyone and Emma is so wealthy, she can just go have fun. It would be so tempting if I was that age and had the big bucks!

  19. RocketMerry says:

    You know, it’s a good thing that college still means something in the USA. In Italy pretty much anyone gets in after highschool. Then the professors have to deal with 200+ students per class (over a period that goes from three months to six, so two or three and a half months of actual lessons) and just sort of lower the level of teaching so that most of them will pass the examination. And everybody is a University graduate. Yay!!

  20. gabs says:

    Good for her but why are you making such a big deal out of Emma dropping out? Plenty of people take breaks

  21. mew says:

    She looks like Chloe Sevigny.

  22. liv says:

    @dicktrix, in ten years, she’ll be too old for leo. haha.

    anyways, mary-kate and ashley also went to campbell hall and later nyu (but they dropped out of nyu).

  23. caitrin176 says:

    I took a year off college my sophomore year and, I can gaurantee you, it has had no negative impact on my life whatsoever, then or now. In fact, I was lucky enough to travel a little on my year off, so I will always remain glad I had that extra time off on my own.What is your problem,exactly, with a young,wealthy movie actress choosing this year off college route?

  24. Mae says:

    Aw I love Dakota Fanning, I always thought she was the same age as me, I guess she’s about a year older, but I digress; I’m so glad she’s going to college! Oh and why does this site go so hard on Emma Watson? (I know I know it’s cele”bitchy” but still) Emma hasn’t done anything wrong, she is a very intelligent and articulate young woman, imho.

  25. fancyamazon says:

    Good for her, and I love the dress in the top photo, Dakota seems well-grounded and with good family to keep her that way.

    but I agree with those in the above posts saying that Emma should not be knocked so hard. She is doing a lot right now career-wise, maybe things she did not anticipate when she started at Brown. And she can always go back, if she wants. She is young and having a bit of fun. It isn’t like she is doing drugs and partying her life away.

  26. Dingles says:

    Umm, I graduated from college in four years but I see nothing wrong with a successful actress taking time off from school to work. Not all education takes place in a classroom by a long shot, and even if Emma or Dakota don’t finish their degrees, so what? They’re obviously very intelligent young women with good heads on their shoulders, and they already have thriving careers. It doesn’t matter if you get a degree at age 22 or 72, college is a purely individual experience. Many of the most intelligent, hard-working people I’ve ever known (my husband included) do not have college degrees, so I get really po’d when people look down on others for not having a degree.

  27. RHONYC says:

    love her!

    when she graduates, i have a feeling she’s gonna set Hollyweird on its ear.

    she was FANTASTIC & AMAZING as Cherie in ‘The Runaways’.

    there’s nothin’ wrong with being a good, smart girl.

    GO DAKOTA!!! :-)

  28. jemshoes says:

    What a feel-good post! 2 thumbs up for Dakota – particularly her parents – who persisted with high school and education. Dakota sounds genuinely grounded. Are you being a little harsh on Emma Watson?

  29. bitca says:

    @Dingles: you are my Hero for the next 24 hours…

    Tho’ to be fair, things have changed. Was unconscionably lucky in the 90s: parlayed 1.5 yrs of college + a compulsive auto-didactic bent into a way-cool career. Alas, In This Economy lack of a diploma seems to color peoples’ view of anyone under 35… But Actors?? WTF?

    Cheers for the fab, *very* talented little Dakota, but cracks me up—in a sad way—to see the knee-jerk respect… & amazing slack (not on celeb*tchy of course ;-) granted to the likes of Natalie Portman & her fellow College-grad thespians. ‘Ooooh! S/he got a *Degree*!!’ Um… take ANY Acting courses, sweetie?

    So… uh, Go Dakota! But… while this may be weird; still: take N Portman vs The Jolie. The wildly inconsistent quality of their performances—ranging from WOW to ‘Zzzzz…’—implies that College or no, both suffer from a lack of serious actor-training. Yet… is Diploma-less Angelina truly less intelligent & articulate? Also, being a proper Humanitarian, she did not appear in any of the last ‘Star Wars’ flix….uhh, I THINK; Hayden C made me nod off repeatedly, & am too lazy to check IMDB ;-)