In the wake of a college admissions scandal rocking the nation, a New Jersey teen who was once homeless has been accepted into 17 colleges, overcoming his obstacles with hard work and perseverance, reports said Thursday.
Dylan Chidick, 17, is student council president and a member of the National Honor Society at Henry Synder High School in Jersey City. Going to college is his dream, and now he's gotten accepted into 17 out of the 18 colleges he's applied to.
"I wasn’t really sure if I wasn’t going to get into college because I don’t have the perfect grades or perfect GPA or perfect SAT score," Dylan told the North Jersey Record. "But I knew that when college admissions read my essay and see me as a whole person, I'd be OK."
One of his most trying family obstacles included coping with his twin brother's heart condition called aortic stenosis, which restricts blood flow from the left side of the heart to the right side, the report said.
Adding to Dylan's family struggles, his mother, Khadine Phillip, fell ill and was unable to work to pay the bills, which prompted the landlord to evict the family.
"It was a very dark time and I did not want to end back up in that situation again, so I worked harder," Dylan told Fox 35 Orlando.
In 2017, Phillip was able to get help for her family. She connected with Village of Families, a HUD-funded housing program, which is part of WomenRising, a nonprofit that offers aid to women and families. The center has helped put the family up in permanent supportive housing -- a safe place for Dylan to study and wait for his final acceptance letter, New York's WCBS-TV reported. The costs for all the college applications were waived, the report said.
“The College of New Jersey. I haven’t heard back yet, but that is my top school right now,” the honor student said.
Dylan moved from Trinidad to the U.S. at seven years old and became a citizen, the station reported. He will be the first in his family to attend college.
Dylan hopes to study political science and go to law school. He hopes his story will inspire others to pursue their dreams despite hardships.
"I would say, just keep pushing through. What you’re going through now should not define you in any way and you should keep working hard. The work you put in now you will foresee in the future," he told Fox 35.