Verto Education Review: Gap Year Program
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The bottom line: Verto Education is a gap year program provider that partners with colleges to enable students to take a gap year and still graduate on their original four-year timeline. It is best for students who want to attend one of the partner colleges, earn college credit or use financial aid to pay for a gap year.
Gap year programs
College-bound students ages 17 - 22
$0 - $30,000 per semester before aid
Financial aid through the FAFSA: Pell Grant, Student loans Verto International Leadership Award: $1,000 or $5,000 Verto Opportunity Grant: $5,000 or $10,000
London; Madrid; Milan; Fiji, New Zealand and Australia; Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic; Hawaii; California
Pros & Cons
Ability to graduate on original four-year timeline.
Ability to use federal student aid and private student loans.
Partner schools are not in every state.
Program cost doesn’t include plane tickets, books and other expenditures.
Verto Education was created in 2018 and blends the education aspects of study abroad with the self-discovery aspects of a gap year. It bills itself as a “gap year without the gap” and allows students to travel for a year without losing time toward college graduation. Instead, students earn enough college credits to make them sophomores at Verto’s partner colleges when they return.
Interested students apply to Verto Education and its partner colleges using the same application. You select up to five colleges you’re interested in and submit your high school GPA and transcripts as part of the process. Some partner colleges might have additional requirements, like essays or letters of recommendation. Verto and many of its partner schools don’t require standardized tests, but you can submit your scores if you want. You’ll receive college acceptance letters as part of your acceptance to the Verto Education program, generally within three weeks.
Verto Education provides college credits through Richard Bland College of William & Mary that transfer as freshman requirements at partner colleges. You can take up to 16 college credit hours per semester for up to two semesters, for a total of 32 credit hours, and return from a gap year as a college sophomore.
Verto Education partners with 45 colleges across 20 states, Washington, D.C., and four countries. If you want to transfer to a nonpartner college, Verto Education may work with that college to determine which credits will transfer and how those credits will apply.
You might experience a mix of destination excursions, cultural fieldwork, classroom education and local language training while living in hotels, guesthouses and family homestays during your gap year. You will travel via local transit, van, bus and airplane depending on the program you pick.
Verto Education offers three types of programs:
Yearlong: Change the World and Global Impact Year.
The Change the World program is described as an academically rigorous honors program that includes a capstone project, retreat, career readiness and leadership development training, seminars and one-on-one coaching and academic mentorship. Change the World students are also guaranteed a summer internship with an organization in Verto’s network.
Global Impact Year was developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and offers a semester of distance learning with a two-week, in-person summit followed by a semester abroad.
Campus semester: Semester abroad that is structured similar to a traditional college experience where students manage their own class schedule and study times. Verto coordinates excursions for students to explore local and regional destinations.
Field semester: Cultural immersion semester where students participate in homestays and local fieldwork. Students learn while traveling with faculty and staff.
Students can select one semester-long program, participate in two semester-long programs to build a one-year experience or opt for a yearlong program.