Getting accepted to 17 colleges is an impressive feat for any high school student. It means something more to New Jersey's Dylan Chidick, considering the 17-year-old came to the US as an immigrant from Trinidad at age 7 and spent the next decade in and out of homelessness. Even before the "unfair" college admissions scandal was revealed, Chidick tells the New York Times he knew there was "always going to be someone with more privilege and more connections, to have it easier … and that means that you have to work harder to achieve the same goals." By mid-2017, the Henry Snyder High School student was living in a shelter in Jersey City. He took advanced placement classes in the summer, and—battling a curfew—did his best to study after 9pm, when he'd return from a job at a recreation center.
His single mom, raising twin brothers with serious heart conditions, eventually reached out to an organization that helped the family find a permanent home. "Seeing my family become vulnerable … is basically what created my drive to never experience that ever again," Chidick tells CNN. Now an honors student and senior class president, Chidick has his choice among Albright College, Caldwell University, Siena College, and the York College of Pennsylvania, among other schools. He has yet to hear from his first choice, the College of New Jersey, where he hopes to study political science and history en route to becoming a lawyer. Per NBC, strangers have offered to pay his tuition. (This teen was accepted by 113 colleges.)