It's an incredible accomplishment for any teen: getting accepted to 18 colleges. RELATED STORIES
But when Dylan Chidick, 17, starts classes at The College of New Jersey this fall, it will be an extra-special moment.
Not only is he the first person in his family to go to college, but Chidick also overcame homelessness to get into his top-choice school.
"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. I can do it and I will do it," Chidick told CBS News.
His mother, Khadine Phillip, said she couldn't be more proud — or more grateful.
"I don't know what heaven feels like, but I think it might be just that," she told CBS News.
Chidick came to the U.S. from Trinidad with his mom when he was 7 and became a citizen, CBS News reported.
The family struggled with homelessness while caring for his twin brothers, who suffer from serious heart conditions, CBS News reported.
But that didn't stop Chidick from aiming high at school. He was named senior class president at Henry Snyder High School in Jersey City, and was inducted into the honor society, CBS reported.
And then, one by one, Dylan heard back from the colleges he applied to, with his top-choice school, The College of New Jersey, delivering his acceptance in person.
Even New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy called to congratulate him, telling him, "You are the American dream, my friend."
An anonymous donor reached out to pledge Chidick's full tuition and dorm room, he said, and a GoFundMe page he started has raised more than $6,000 for books and other school supplies.
It's an incredible accomplishment for any teen: getting accepted to 18 colleges.
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