The Trump Family's History Of College Choices, Explained

Donald Trump had five children with three different women across four different decades. As such, they had different upbringings and influences in their lives. But when it comes to higher education, the Trump children have similar preferences. From Donald himself all the way down to Tiffany Trump, the Trumps have graduated from either the University of Pennsylvania or Georgetown University — or both. The last Trump may still choose to break tradition.

Barron Trump, who graduated from high school in May 2024, has yet to announce his future plans. While Barron's college choice is still unclear, his father has offered a few clues. In September 2023, Donald revealed his youngest kid was considering sticking to tradition and attending the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, though he admitted he hadn't made up his mind. "Those are the things we're talking about right now," he said on "The Megyn Kelly Show." In April 2024, The Daily Beast reported he was speculated to go to New York University.

A month later, Donald confirmed Barron was looking into options beyond the initial choices. "He's doing a great job. He has great marks. He's going to be going to college soon. And we're looking at some colleges that are different [than] they were two months ago," Donald said during an event in Mar-a-Lago (via Newsweek). Barron will have to decide soon. It sounds like he will most likely follow his own path, which might make him the second Trump to not graduate from Penn.

Donald Trump is a proud Wharton alum, but he started elsewhere

Donald Trump likes to remind everyone he's an Ivy League alum. He graduated from the University of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in economics in 1968. He couldn't be more proud. "I went to the Wharton School of Finance, the toughest place to get into. I was a great student," he has said, according to the Associated Press. But that's not where his college journey started. Donald transferred to Wharton in his junior year, having spent the first two at Fordham College.

And he had help along the way. Donald's eldest brother, Fred Trump Jr., was close friends with James Nolan, who worked in the admissions office at Penn at the time. "He said: 'He's at Fordham and he would like to transfer to Wharton. Will you interview him?' I was happy to do that," he told The Washington Post in 2019. He must have done well enough, though Nolan doesn't remember it. "It must have been decent enough to support his candidacy," he said.

Donald has long claimed he graduated top of his class, a statement that was widely reported in the media. But the claim has been questioned for just as long. "Although the school refused comment, the commencement program from 1968 does not list him as graduating with honors of any kind," a 1984 New York Times profile pointed out. Regardless of merits, Donald's history at Penn started a family tradition.

Donald Trump Jr. followed in his father's footsteps

Like his father, Donald Trump Jr. chose to enroll at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business. He joined in 1996 and graduated in 2000. Also like his father, Donald Jr.'s connections and privilege seemingly gave him a leg up in the admissions process. Starting around 1996, Donald Trump reportedly made (or promised to make) hefty donations to the University of Pennsylvania, something he had previously shown little interest in doing, The Daily Pennsylvanian reported in 2016.

Donald Jr.'s college experience was marked more by what he did outside of the classroom than in it. His reported partying earned him a few unflattering nicknames. "Diaper Don would wake up in some stranger's dorm room or off-campus apartment or bedroom in his frat house, covered in piss, walk back to his own room, and get blitzed that evening or the next anew," author Emily Jane Fox wrote in her 2018 book, "Born Trump" (via New York Post).

Donald Jr. doesn't deny his drinking could often get out of hand. "To be fairly candid, I used to drink a lot and party pretty hard, and it wasn't something that I was particularly good at," he told New York in 2004. "I mean, I was good at it, but I couldn't do it in moderation." In 2003, Donald Jr. stopped drinking alcohol, a decision partly inspired by Fred Trump Jr.'s struggles with alcoholism, he wrote in his 2019 book, "Triggered" (via the Daily Mail).

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Ivanka Trump attended two colleges

After graduating from Choate Rosemary Hall in 2000, Ivanka Trump enrolled in the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. She attended for two years and then transferred to her father and older brother's alma mater. She graduated cum laude with a degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business in 2004. That's a day Ivanka holds close to her. "I remember that day so clearly, it was such an incredible feeling!" she captioned a 2011 Facebook post featuring two photos.

Ivanka's post proved useful in April 2022, when social media users used a photo of Ivanka posing with her mother and brothers to argue that Donald Trump had missed the event. The AFP unearthed the post to debunk the claims, as Ivanka posted a photo with her father (seen above). During her time in college, Ivanka displayed the same demeanor she carried through to her public life as first daughter and adviser to Donald Trump.

"The first time I saw her, she came into class late. She walked very confidently ... there was an air of, 'I am someone,'" Wharton graduate Roland Oliver told The Daily Pennsylvanian in 2017. Ivanka wasn't involved in the social scene, choosing to keep to herself. "My sense was that she was a little removed from the typical bar scene in college, but I feel like she always handled herself with a lot of class and dignity," Jared Work, another of her old classmates said. 

Eric Trump attended Georgetown after Ivanka

Eric Trump also chose Georgetown University after graduating from the Hill School in 2002, a feat that surprised classmates and some staff members who were aware of his subpar academic performance, City & State New York reported in 2017. But that changed at Georgetown, where Eric graduated with honors in 2006. That's because, unlike Ivanka Trump, he stayed at Georgetown through the end, earning a bachelor's degree in finance and management from the McDonough School of Business.

Eric's former Georgetown classmates sometimes have to do a double-take when they catch him on TV. For many of them, that person bears no resemblance to the Eric they knew. "The use of hand gestures and the rapid-fire speaking style that he's sort of adopted over the years just makes me think that it's not just a result of who he is. I think it's a result of training himself to communicate in a certain style," Kevin Lundquist, an old friend of Eric's from Hill and Georgetown, said.

After Donald Trump's ascension to the presidency, Eric's relationship with his alma mater has become a bit more turbulent. Eric was the target of protests after being invited to speak at a 2020 event by the Georgetown University College Republicans. "People have claimed that it's about promoting dialogue and representing ideological diversity, but we don't understand the value of having an ideological diversity that extends to overt bigotry," Georgetown University College Democrats' Chair AJ Williamson told The Georgetown Voice

Tiffany Trump also attended Penn and Georgetown

Tiffany Trump may be the most overlooked Trump, but she is the most academically accomplished. Like Donald, Donald Jr. and Ivanka Trump, Tiffany also went to the University of Pennsylvania, enrolling in 2012. She earned a degree in sociology and urban studies with a concentration in law from the College of Arts and Sciences in 2016. Following graduation, Tiffany continued to further her education. In 2017, Tiffany enrolled at the Georgetown University Law Center, becoming a Hoya like Eric Trump.

And he couldn't have been happier to add one of his own to the bunch. "Georgetown is an incredible school with great significance to me personally," he told The New York Times. "I am so proud of Tiffany and all that she has accomplished. She is an amazing young woman, a terrific sister and has a remarkable future ahead of her." Tiffany graduated from law school in May 2020. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the graduation ceremony was held virtually.

The pandemic didn't prevent her loved ones from celebrating her. "Great student, great school. Just what I need is a lawyer in the family. Proud of you Tiff!" Donald Trump wrote on Instagram. It's unclear what Tiffany will do after finishing law school, but she opted not to take the bar exam following graduation to support her father on the campaign trail, OK! reported. Shortly before joining law school, Donald Trump Jr. suggested Tiffany could join the Trump family business, CNN reported in 2017.