Dropping out of college is not a good idea: Bill Gates

Microsoft-founder and billionaire Bill Gates, one of the best known college drop-outs in the world, advised students here that dropping out of college "is not a good idea".

Gates, who is on a five university tour talking to students about the work done by his philanthropic organization Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said he later completed a few degrees through online courses.

"I don't think dropping out (of college) is a good idea... I am glad I got two-and-a-half years of college. Now I have completed the equivalent of some number of degrees by online courses," Gates told an audience of over 1700 students at the University of Chicago yesterday.

Gates had dropped out of Harvard after his second year to work on his start up company Microsoft, which he describes as "a very magic moment".

He said he was enjoying his days at Harvard but joked that by dropping out he saved his father's money.

"I would have had fun staying at Harvard. My dad was paying for everything, so I saved him a bunch of money," he said.

Emphasising that "education is fundamental", Gates advised students that unless they had a "very unique" idea they are keen to work on and are confident will materialize into something, they should not think of dropping out.

The university tour, which has taken him to Stanford, Harvard and MIT, is the first that Gates has undertaken to speak about his foundation after he left the day-to-day operations at Microsoft.

Such visits is a way to keep his promise to his father that he would return to college, Gates said.

"When I dropped out of college, I did tell my dad that I would go back to college. So I kind of do it one day at a time to work out this promise that I made to him," he said.

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