Teen Overcomes Homelessness, Gets Accepted Into 17 Colleges: Report
USTiffany Meier

Through determination and hard work, a New Jersey teen triumphed over homelessness and just got accepted by more than a dozen colleges, according to a new report.

Despite struggling with homelessness throughout his life, 17-year-old Dylan Chidick now has his choice of colleges to choose from, after receiving 17 acceptance letters, according to CBS New York.

“The dream I want to achieve, I have to have a lot of determination,” he told CBS New York.

When he was 7 years old, he immigrated to the U.S. from Trinidad with his family and became a citizen.

Chidick lives with his mother and younger twin brothers, both of whom have serious heart conditions and have undergone heart surgery.

After going in and out of homelessness his entire life, his family now lives in permanent supportive housing, thanks to the nonprofit WomenRising.

“My family went through a lot and there has been a lot of people saying, ‘You can’t do that,’ or ‘You’re not going to achieve this,’ and me—getting these acceptances—kind of verifies what I have been saying,” he said. “I can do it, and I will do it.”

Despite what people told him, the Jersey City student worked hard and became senior class president at Henry Snyder High School. He also got inducted into the honor society.

Now, he’s ready to become the first in his family to attend college.

“NJCU, Ramapo, Albright,” he said, listing off some of the schools he’s been accepted to.

He said it was his mother’s courage to ask for help from the non-profit that made him want to do better.

“Making herself vulnerable and putting herself out there, that made me determined to never let us back in that situation again,” he said.

“It has been hard financially, we have been homeless,” his mother, Khadine Phillip, said.

“She is a great example in doing everything necessary to help her children,” executive director for WomenRising, Roseann Mazzeo, said.

Established in 1905, WomenRising has been helping women and their families for over 110 years. According to the website, WomenRising helps those in need of jobs, safety from domestic violence, freedom from substance abuse, and safe homes for children.

The organization helps these women and their families “achieve self-sufficiency and live safe, productive and fulfilling lives, through social services, economic development, and advocacy services,” states the site.

The organization has put Chidick and his family in a safe place for him to study and wait to hear back from his top choice school.

“The College of New Jersey. I haven’t heard back yet, but that is my top school right now,” Chidick said. Because of his financial situation, the cost of all the college applications were waived.

Once Chidick has that 18th acceptance letter, 18 will be his lucky number and he will have 18 choices for his future.

After he decides on a school, Chidick said he wants to study political science.

CBS New York profiled Chidick the same day that dozens of people, including celebrities Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, were charged in a nationwide college admissions bribery scam where wealthy parents allegedly bribed elite universities to admit their children.