For many, college is a rite of passage, a means to a good job.
Prior to entering Brown University in Providence, R.I., in the fall of 2009, Watson told Teen Vogue: "I'm doing this because I want to be normal. I really want anonymity. I want to do it properly, like everyone else. As long as I don't walk in and see, like, 'Harry Potter' posters everywhere, I'll be fine."
There were no posters or autograph-hounding fans. Nor was there any truth to earlier reports that Watson was being heckled with "Harry Potter" phrases like "Three points for Gryffindor!" when she answered a question correctly in class.
But after 18 months, Watson made the decision to leave Brown because she realized that she is not like everyone else.
"I was in denial," the 21-year-old actress told the U.K.'s Sunday Times Style Magazine recently about her decision to drop out. "I wanted to pretend I wasn't as famous as I was. I was trying to seek out normality, but I kind of have to accept who I am, the position I'm in and what happened."
For one thing, no one wanted to date the woman who has graced magazine covers and was chosen as the face of Burberry.
"I say to my friends, 'Why hasn't X called me? Why doesn't anyone ever pursue me?' They're like, 'Probably because they're intimidated.' It must be the fame wall," she told the Times. "It must be the circus that goes around me. Me, as a person, I find it hard to believe I would be intimidating."
Watson's representative told The Associated Press that the actress will transfer to another school this fall, though she declined to give the name.
In the meantime, Watson can draw encouragement from other child stars who attended college. Some finished, some did not, and still others went on for an advanced degree. Here are a few:
Academy Award-winning actress Jodie Foster is the poster child for child stars who went to college.
By age 14, she had appeared in two dozen television series and 10 feature films, including "Taxi Driver." Yet, this former high school valedictorian stepped away from the film business at the height of her career to attend Yale University. At the time, People magazine called it "the most startling movie career decision since Garbo chose exile."
It paid off: Foster graduated in 1985 with a degree in literature, and she was later awarded an honorary doctorate of fine arts. Her career didn't suffer, either. She went on to win two Oscars, for "The Accused" and "Silence of the Lambs," and to direct several films.
Actor Jerry O'Connell made a name for himself at age 11 as the portly star of "Stand by Me." After a few more projects, he took a break from acting to attend New York University.
Now, at age 37, the father of twin girls with model/actress Rebecca Romijn, is finishing up his law degree at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles. He enrolled in night classes in 2009 before landing his most recent gig playing a lawyer on the CBS series "The Defenders."
"I had always planned on continuing my education, at some point," the star told People in 2009.
"It was either [law school] or play video games until 2 a.m.," he joked.
The former star of "My So Called Life," Claire Danes was 17 and had just finished filming "Romeo + Juliet" with a baby-faced Leonardo DiCaprio when she exited Hollywood for Yale University in 1999.
Danes majored in psychology but returned to acting after two years, sans diploma.
"I'm sure I missed something, but I learned how to think critically and read and write," she told The Washington Post recently. "I felt basically fulfilled."