A New Jersey teen whose family survived homelessness has gained national attention after being accepted to 17 colleges.

Dylan Chidick, a 17-year-old senior at Henry Snyder High School in Jersey City, immigrated to the U.S. from Trinidad at the age of 7 and became a citizen, according to CBS New York.

Chidick’s family has been in and out of homelessness his entire life, and now lives in permanent supportive housing thanks to the nonprofit Women Rising.

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“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 told the station. “I can do it and I will do it.”

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

His mother, Khadine Phillip, told CBS New York that “It has been hard financially, we have been homeless.”

By attending one of the 18 colleges he applied to, Chidick hopes to be the first in his family to attend college. He is still waiting to hear back from his top choice, the College of New Jersey. Chidick plans to study political science.

CBS New York profiled Chidick the same day that dozens of people, including celebrities Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, were charged in a massive college admissions cheating scandal that saw wealthy parents allegedly bribing elite universities to admit their children.