A formerly homeless student in New Jersey will become the first in his family to go to college after receiving acceptance letters to 17 different schools this week.

Dylan Chidick, the 17-year-old class president at Henry Snyder High School in Jersey City, had seemingly everything going against him just two years ago. He and his family were homeless, his younger siblings needed special medical care for heart conditions, and his mother had lost her job, he told the New York Times.

But after a non-profit group stepped in to provide the family permanent supportive housing, Chidick was able to buckle down and study. The aspiring lawyer, who moved with his family to the U.S. from Trinidad at the age of 7, is awaiting an 18th acceptance letter from the College of New Jersey, where he has friends.

“There has been a lot of people saying ‘You’re not going to achieve this,’” he told KYW-TV in Philadelphia. “Me getting these acceptance letters kind of verifies what I’ve been saying -- that I can do it and I will do it.”

Dylan’s good news comes during a week where college acceptance is under scrutiny after dozens of celebrity and CEO parents were implicated in a major admissions scheme.

“I think it is unfair that people could just buy their way in,” Dyland told the New York Times. “But I know that it has been happening for a long time, and there is always going to be someone with more privilege and more connections, to have it easier than others.”

“And that means that you have to work harder to achieve the same goals,” he said.