JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – The story of Dylan Chidick is a tale of triumph over tragedy when, after being in and out of homelessness during his youth, he got admissions letters from 17 schools.
On Tuesday, the teen landed this 18th acceptance letter, and it was the one that counted the most: His dream school, The College of New Jersey.
CBSN New York’s John Dias caught up with Chidick for his big surprise at Henry Snyder High School in Jersey City.
“Oh my God,” said Chidick. “Surprise. Thank you.”
The College of New Jersey surprised Chidick at his high school by bringing plenty of TCNJ gear and his acceptance letter into the college.
The teen suffered plenty of heartaches in his life, turning that into hard work and getting accepted into 18 colleges.
The formerly homeless teenager immigrated to America with his single mother and two younger brothers from Trinidad when he was just 7 years old
Eventually becoming a citizen, he says he has studied everyday trying to make a better life
Several people have been telling Chidick how much of an inspiration he is, and strangers are even offering to help pay for his college.
New Jersey Teen Accepted To 17 Colleges
The entire time, his focus has been waiting eagerly for TCNJ’s acceptance letter. He actually thought he may not get in.
“I got a call yesterday saying the papers weren’t going through, so I thought I was going to miss the deadline,” said Chidick. “This is so amazing. So amazing, so happy.”
“His strong work ethic, determination, his values, what he has accomplished with his family, this story comes through in the application process, his essay, through people advocating for him,” said College of New Jersey Executive Director of Admission Grecia Montero.
Montero says the news coverage didn’t get him in: Chidick did it all on his own and the application has been in review this entire time.
The school’s acceptance rate is 48 percent, and they saw an increase in applications this year. The valedictorian of Chidick’s school also got into this college.
Chidick plans to study political science and history, with the aim of becoming a lawyer.