Homeschooled teen to graduate from college

Moorestown resident Ryan Snell, 19, will graduate in May with two associates degrees from Burlington County College.

Going to college for a degree in business, Ryan will have degrees in art and design, as well as graphic design and digital media. But Ryan, like his two older brothers, Jake and Tom, did not participate in traditional public or private schooling.

The Snell boys were homeschooled by their parents, Charlie and Lori Snell.

When homeschooling their sons, Lori said she created curriculums based off their interests.

Ryan’s older brothers moved on to Ivy League schools, and Ryan will shortly follow depending on what school he decides to attend.

Ryan applied to Penn State, James Madison University, University of Virginia, University of North Carolina, College of William and Mary, and the University of Pennsylvania, the only Ivy League school.

Jake is a 2010 graduate of Yale University, with a bachelors in biochemical engineering. Lori and Charlie said he is currently a candidate for his masters degree in computer science at the University of Toronto, while Tom will graduate in May with a degree in applied mathematics with a concentration in economics.

Although Tom and Jake did not receive degrees from BCC, the brothers share tutoring students at the school in common.

Homeschooled since he was in second grade, Ryan stepped into the world of college course work when he was 14, and started volunteering his time to tutor students when he was 17.

After his first semester at BCC, Ryan said he was “pretty comfortable.”

Lori said tutoring helped the boys tremendously when preparing for college.

But the academic achievements and college experience at a young age is more of an asset to preparing them for college, she said.

“That type of stuff got them into Ivy League schools,” Lori said.

Ryan was inducted into BCC’s college honor society, Phi Theta Kappa, in 2010, and is the vice president of communications for the chapter. He received BCC’s Academic Art Award and Graphic Design and Digital Media Award in 2012, and received the N.J. Joint Legislative Commendation for receiving a BCC academic award in 2012.

Ryan said he enjoys working on computers and in his graphic design classes. He said he tries to apply what he learns in class to his extracurricular activities.

“I like to apply what I have learned,” he said while sketching a website design.

Lori said she wanted to make sure her boys were learning about things they enjoyed. While Ryan’s interest is in graphic design, Tom enjoys math while Jake is interested in science.

Jake has taken 15 AP courses since he was in eighth grade. He received the highest score on 14 exams, Lori said.

He also took his MCAT exam when he was 17, scoring in the 97th percentile.

Tom participated in the USA Math Olympiad for ninth, 10th and 11th grade, and took 12 placement exams, receiving the highest score on 11.

All three brothers have different interests. Charlie and Lori wanted to use their interests as a guide to the learning curriculum.

Ryan has five classes left at BCC before he graduates. He said he is not sure what type of business degree he wants, but he wants to continue to use his graphic design and artistic


“You have to gear your program to what their interests are,” Lori said, adding the exposure they received during the time spent at BCC helped them immensely.

About Kristina Scala

Kristina Scala, a Brooklyn native, has moved her way down the state, finally settling in South Jersey. She graduated in 2012 from Rowan University with a bachelors in journalism and English. She enjoys covering sports, politics and local happenings. Kristina can be reached at all posts by Kristina Scala