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    Verto Education Review: Seamless Study Abroad

    By Gabriel Jimenez-Ekman

    Gabriel Jimenez-Ekman is a content editor and writer at Scholarships360. He has managed communications and written content for a diverse array of organizations, including a farmer’s market, a concert venue, a student farm, an environmental NGO, and a PR agency. Gabriel graduated from Kenyon College with a degree in sociology.

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    Edited by Maria Geiger

    Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

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    Updated: April 9th, 2024
    Verto Education Review: Seamless Study Abroad

    Are you interested in taking a gap year, but still hope to graduate on a four-year timeline? Do you want to study abroad during your freshman year of college? Are you looking for a gap year program that allows you to use federal financial aid? If you answered yes to any of these questions, Verto Education might be a good fit for you.

    Verto Education offers a creative new way to get into your dream school and start college differently–with 1-2 semesters of study abroad! In this review, we’ll explore how Verto works and what type of student might benefit from applying. Let’s dive in!

    How does Verto work?

    The Verto program takes place during your freshman year. You’ll be able to choose from a list of international destinations and programs to find the right fit for you. The curriculum consists of core freshman year requirements, so when students complete the program, they begin studies on campus as if they had studied there the entire time. So, students who enroll in one semester of the program will begin studies on campus in the spring as a second-semester freshman. Students who enroll for an entire year will begin studies on campus in the following fall, as a first-semester sophomore.

    During each semester with Verto, students can earn up to 16 credits. In addition to required courses (include a college writing / rhetoric class and an identity and politics class) students will take courses that vary based on which country they’re studying abroad in. Each program has a different list of courses – you can explore them on the Verto website. All credits are technically awarded by Verto’s accredited Academic Providers, but you can transfer them into any of the approved partner schools.

    Application process

    So, how does one gain admission to the Verto program? You’ll find the application process to be very similar to the regular college application process, with a few notable exceptions. Students apply for Verto using the application on their website, which ends up functioning similarly to the Common App. On the application, you’ll select 5 of Verto’s 70+ partner universities to apply to. Some of these colleges may require additional materials, such as essays or test scores.

    To give you an idea of your options, here are a few universities which have partnered with Verto: University of Tennessee, University of Vermont, University of South Florida, University of Oregon, Temple University, Bucknell University, Butler University, Pace University, the Catholic University of America, High Point University, University College Dublin, and The University of Bristol, among many others!

    You’ll hear back from Verto around the same time as you hear back from each of these partner schools. So, once you get your decision from Verto, you’ll have an idea of the schools your credits could transfer into. It’s a good idea to apply to Verto in tandem with your regular college applications; if you don’t end up gaining admission to a good fit in the Verto coalition, you’ll be happy that you have other options.

    Also see: How many colleges should I apply to?

    What does Verto cost?

    Verto programs cost between $18,000 – $25,000 per semester depending on the location(s) chosen, before scholarship and aid is applied. You can find specifics for each program you’re interested in on their website.

    Unlike other gap year programs, Verto comes with the advantage of federal financial aid eligibility. You can apply FAFSA funds to your Verto tuition, including the Pell Grant, state aid, and subsidized loans. Verto is also eligible for many external scholarships; since you are earning college credits from an accredited institution, you will be able to pull from a wide range of funding sources. Students who have a 529 plan can also make payments to Verto as a qualified educational expense.

    Verto scholarships

    Yes! Verto is running a few very generous scholarship programs to further reduce the cost of attendance. These include:

    1. $1,500-$5,000 Scholars Award: For this award, students are selected based on GPA.
    2. Opportunity Grant: Students  must be Pell Eligible (as determined by filing FAFSA). Priority is given to students with an SAI (Student Aid Index) below 2,000.

    Also see: Top study abroad scholarships

    Verto pros & cons

    Beginning college with Verto offers distinct advantages compared to directly enrolling in university or traditional study abroad programs, but may not be right for all students.

    Pros

    • Hone your interests before starting collegeAs a student just coming out of high school, you may be unsure of what you want to study and pursue in your life. Going abroad for your first semester can be a great way to reorient yourself and see more of the world in order to decide what you may want to pursue in the future.
    • Take a gap year while staying on track to graduate. Verto is an opportunity to travel the world while completing your university degree in 4 years. It’s a “gap year” without the gap, allowing you to explore the world without missing a beat.
    • Potentially lower costs than other study abroad semesters. At many colleges, students must pay the entire cost of tuition for every semester, even when they study abroad. This can be disadvantageous to students whose programs are cheaper than typical tuition. Verto helps you avoid that issue.
    • Financial aid eligibility. Unlike most gap year programs, you’ll be able to apply financial aid to your Verto program, including federal aid, external aid, and scholarships directly from Verto.
    • Partnering with universities for college credit. Unlike some independent study abroad programs, Verto partners with colleges and universities to ensure credits transfer seamlessly into students’ four-year degree programs.

    Cons

    • Integrating study abroad with your academic career. Some students may want to use study abroad to explore a language they picked up in college, or to conduct research for a senior thesis. Students opting to go abroad in their first year will miss out on these opportunities, although may discover a passion they didn’t know existed!
    • Beginning college with study abroad may be stressful for some students. While some students might jump at the opportunity to live abroad for a year before diving into college life, the transition to college on top of studying abroad might be a lot for some students. Before committing to any program, we encourage you to think deeply about your own comfortability with change.
    • Possibility of feeling left-out upon arrival to campus. If you go abroad for your freshman year, you’ll find that many students will already have formed friendships by the time you return to campus. You might miss out on the initial phase of students meeting new people and making lots of friends. While this is not insurmountable, it is something you might want to prepare for.
    • Less flexible scheduleAlthough most of these programs have some choice in the classes you take, you’ll find that your options are much more limited than they would be on campus. Although you’ll be doing a lot of exploring out of the classroom, you might have less room for exploration within the classroom.

    Related: Top 10 reasons to study abroad

    Bottom line

    Verto is revolutionizing the first year of college to help students find purpose, discover the world, and be successful in their college career. We recommend Verto to students looking to begin their college education with a study abroad experience that might work out to be considerably cheaper than their school’s study abroad program.

    Additional resources for students

    As you send out college applications and consider your options, it’s a good idea to decide how many colleges to apply to. You’ll also want to strike a good balance between safety, match, and reach schools. And to get a better idea of what each school is like, make sure to schedule a college tour and decide what to ask during your campus visits.

    If you are drawn to Verto because you are considering a gap year, check out our guide to everything you should know about gap years. Finally, don’t miss out on our guide for how to choose a college. Good luck out there!

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