A total of 39,506 people applied for a spot in Harvard University'sundergraduate class of 2021, and just 2,037 were accepted — that's an acceptance rate of roughly 5.2 percent. Zero students were accepted off the waitlist.
Now, imagine earning one of those coveted spots after spending your early years moving between homeless shelters, a hospital bed and motel rooms. That's what Richard Jenkins was doing when, in grade school, he became so committed to academics that he went on to become the valedictorian of his high school and earn a spot at Harvard.
In an interview with Philadelphia public radio station WHYY, Jenkins recalls being ashamed of his upbringing. "In the sixth grade, one time I was walking from school with my friend, and he was asking me where I lived," he recalled. "The shelter looked like a big house — it could have been a mansion. So I told him, 'Yeah, that's my house right there,' because I was so embarrassed to say I lived in a shelter."