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Building Your Individual
Plan for College

Abroad experiences with Verto and our Academic Provider, the University of New Haven, help participants gain the confidence and clarity to achieve their goals. That starts with ensuring that 100% of Verto participants have a college plan that inspires and aligns with their aspirations.

How Can the
College Counseling, Advising, and Transfer Services (CCATS) Team
Help You?

You don’t have to do it alone.

Hi there! As the College Counseling, Advising, and Transfer Services team, we are here to support Verto participants in finding the college plan that is the best fit for them. It can be overwhelming to choose a college and major, but with your participation with Verto, you’re already on your way towards a powerful college career.

Curious to learn how you can gain admission to college through Verto and our Academic Provider? Or have you already selected non-partner schools and want to learn how to apply as a transfer student or inquire about deferral and credit transfer?

Either way, our CCATS team will work with you to ensure that you have all the information and tools you need to stay on track to graduate.

Our team is dedicated to your success and will be with you every step of the way. We’ll work with you one-on-one to help you:

Figure out what you’re looking for in a college and match you with our world-class partner schools.

Transfer your credits from our Academic Provider, the University of New Haven, to a non-partner school, should you choose to go that route.

We also have some great guidance for your application process in our FAQ section. If you still have questions, contact your Admissions Counselor! Or, if you’re already enrolled with Verto, work with your designated College Counselor.

Navigating your four year plan with Verto

Verto Partner Colleges

I’m Interested in Exploring Verto Partner Schools

This is me!

Non-Partner Colleges

I Want to Attend a Non-Partner College

This is me!

Exploring My Options

I’d Like to Have a College Plan, but I Don’t Know Where to Begin!

This is me!

My counselor was a phenomenal advisor with so much to offer us. She never failed to answer any of my questions and honestly was willing to help in any way possible. She has made my Verto experience extremely rewarding!

Cole N.Spring 2021 South Pacific Student

The Verto team has provided me with all the materials I need to get all my credit to transfer to UMD. Not only did [my counselor] get in contact with UMD but she was my advocate and I immensely appreciate it. I am very excited that everything worked out.

Amelia K.Global Impact Year 2020-2021

My college counselor has been incredibly supportive of me during the process of writing my college essay. She gives great feedback and has the ability to give suggestions of how to improve my writing that I would not have considered on my own. She is a stellar counselor and I have greatly enjoyed working with her!

Holly S.Fall Hybrid 2020 Student

We’re in this together.

The CCATS team is eager to support you in any way we can. We’ve compiled tons of participant FAQ’s and useful resources to help you with your application process.

How do I apply to Verto partner colleges? Do I have to apply right away?

You don’t have to apply right away—do it at the best time for you: before or during your Verto experience abroad. If you’re not sure what you want from college, a year with Verto and our Academic Provider will help give you confidence and clarity on your future.

Learn about the Application Process.

What if I want to attend a non-partner school?

Our counselors work with you one-on-one to help you navigate your college plan—even if that plan includes a non-partner institution! In fact, we have many students who also take this path.

Learn about Enrollment Deferral and Credit Transfer via our Academic Provider.

Although reapplying as a transfer student or confirming your deferral and transfer credits to a non-partner college involves a bit of extra effort, the payoff is huge: you’ll be living out your dreams and traveling the world in no time!

How do I start the process of deciding on a college?

This is a great question! When finding a college, it’s more than just name recognition or even the major that they offer. It’s more about the experience that you will have.

  • What types of experiences are you looking forward to?
  • When was the last time you made a list of your own personal values?
  • What is most important to you?
  • How and where do you spend your time?
  • Who do you want to be surrounded by?

If you need some inspiration here, check out the College Essay Guy, Ethan Sawyer.

Next you’ll want to get clear on the characteristics you’re looking for in a university:

  • Have you thought about the size of your dream college? Do you prefer a setting that is small and intimate where your professors know you by name? Or large where you have access to every resource, but may need to be more proactive in seeking them out?
  • Is there a certain location that you want to be in? Do you prefer urban or rural environments?
  • Know what you want to study? Awesome! Look into the types of classes each school offers and any extra-curricular or research opportunities in that subject. Don’t know what you want to major in? Kudos to you for starting at Verto and giving yourself time to explore! Look for colleges that offer options related to your general pathway or areas of interest, rather than focusing on a specific major. Roadtrip Nation is one of our favorite resources to listen to stories of how others found their calling.
  • What part of the college experience is most important to you? Are you looking for schools with a high diversity rating, or who offer a unique student organization, religious affiliation, or sports culture? Use resources like Big Futures, Niche, and SCOIR to begin your research.
  • Affordability almost always comes into play. We recommend choosing your best fit schools first, and then seeing what type of aid they can offer before making a decision.
  • Read College Planning Tips

Once you have a vision of what you want, you can get familiar with our partner colleges. Verto partners with diverse schools across the country and has a great partner school for every individual.

Look at the size of the campus, where it is located, and watch some Youtube videos about the school. (Hot tip: Check out videos from students’ perspectives). You can even Google search “Top 100 Colleges that are ___ (fill in the blank)” and cross reference that with our list of partner schools.

If you’re not clear on what you want from college yet, that’s the gift of a Verto Education! Your experiences abroad will help you develop more clarity, so no use in rushing the process. Our counselors can work with you any time before, during or after your Verto abroad experience.

What does it mean to choose a "target," "reach," and "safety" school?

Great question. It’s important that you find colleges that fit your academic profile, ambition and interests. Do you want to be a very rigorous and competitive school? Do you want academic excellence, but also more focus on character and service? Great—find schools that will meet your academic profile. Look at what your cumulative GPA and test scores are and compare that to the average at the institutions you’re looking at.

  • If your average cumulative GPA and test scores are higher than the college average, that would be considered a safety school. You will more than likely get into this school.
  • If your cumulative GPA and test scores are roughly the same or slightly higher, that would be considered a target school. You will likely get into this school assuming the rest of your application materials are solid.
  • If your cumulative GPA is below their average, or the school is highly-selective, that would be considered a reach school. You will want to spend time working through your application materials with a trusted professional, in order to increase your chances of getting accepted.

What's important about the location of a college?

College towns are not all created equal. You may be looking for a big city where you can escape campus and live a little. Large cities may offer more opportunities, night life, cultural experiences, and entertainment. Some colleges may be set in a rural area with no major city, but offer everything you need on campus and that’s ok too. When doing your research for good fit colleges, consider adding this part of the good fit match. Look at what the surrounding area is like, how far away any major city is and how it aligns with your preferred way of living. Don’t forget to consider transportation and climate (and we’re not talking about social climate)!

How should I approach my college essay?

This can be tough and can take some time, but it’s a self-reflective, introspective process.

Check out our helpful tips.

Who should I ask to write my letter of recommendation(s)?

It’s important to have a solid letter of recommendation from someone who knows you well and can speak to your academic performance in a positive way. Be sure to give your requesters time to put together a thoughtful letter before the deadline, so plan ahead. It’s also nice when you tell them why you chose them or why you feel they can attest to your strengths/growth. Maybe you admire their work, you have established a solid relationship with them or you can share with them a profound life lesson you learned from them.

Always be gracious, mindful of time, ask—don’t demand—and follow up with a personalized hand-written thank you letter!

For partner colleges, what should I include in my statement? How do I explain why I chose them?

There is no right or wrong way to do this. Take it from the perspective that colleges want to know why you want to go there, they are assessing your interest level. They will be more inclined to make a positive admissions decision or offer scholarships to students that they know are likely to show up on their campus. So all of that to say, there isn’t a specific guideline here. You could write sentences or 3 paragraphs, doesn’t matter. The goal is to be concise, connected and authentic and point out specific aspects of the school that show that you’ve spent your time really looking into this college. They want to know about how the college is a good fit for you, based on making connections from yourself and what they offer. Don’t ramble though, be direct, don’t say what they want you to say, but be flattering. Read and re-read until it reads true for you.

What should I do if my high school grades aren’t that great or I have a blemish on my high school transcript?

If your high school grades don’t demonstrate your educational potential, you can take advantage of Verto’s Direct Transfer program. With the Direct Transfer program, a selection of colleges offer Verto participants the opportunity to use the grades from their experience abroad as criteria for admission!*

In general, if you have a blemish on your transcript, it is important to explain why. You can add a supplemental letter that will allow you to explain the one semester that was rough and the circumstances surrounding that time period. Try not to make excuses or use disempowering language. Rather share what was beyond your control and what you did with the items within your control. You can also share how you’ve grown or what you learned from the experience.

If your grade trend improves after this, and was solid prior, you shouldn’t have much to worry about. Colleges also are more likely to forgive blemishes early on in high school, assuming the trend improves and the rest of your application materials are solid.

*All courses, credits, and transcripts at Verto locations are delivered by our accredited Academic Provider, the University of New Haven.

Articles & Resources

How Should I Start Planning for College

How to Stand Out with Your College Essay

Thinking About Deferring or Taking a Gap Year? Here’s Why Verto is Your Best Choice



Financial Grant