From Participants, Parents
& Education Professionals
Through the mentorship and
support of Verto, I remembered my love of learning. Regaining my curiosity and excitement for the world is something for which I cannot thank Verto enough.
Jade, Verto Student,
Latin America—Fall 2019 + South Pacific—Spring 2020
Hawaii, Fall 2021
The sense of support I felt from staff and faculty is unlike anything I’d ever felt. I felt appreciated, respected, and cared for by the Verto team. I felt particularly impacted by my teachers because they have each brought a new perspective to my idea of higher education. For example, my rhetoric teacher, Krista, encouraged students to be unapologetically themselves. And my psychology teacher, Dr. Beth, created a judgment-free safe place for students to be vulnerable. Unlike my past experiences in education, I felt heard and empowered to voice my opinions. I mention the personal impact I’ve experienced from these professors to highlight the inevitable transformation students will undergo during their time with Verto. We became better students in the classroom and also evolved as well-rounded global citizens from existing in the same community as the Verto team.
Southeast Asia, Fall 2019
This was my first time traveling outside of the U.S. and it was life changing. This trip was a great way to make new connections because you never know who you will meet along your journey. I had met individuals that were all so unique in their own ways and so full of knowledge whether they be my teachers, my cohort, guides, or even natives. Taking into account what these amazing people have taught me, they left me with a new purpose. Because of this trip I now have a new initiative which is to start my own business that will make a change.
Latin America, Fall 2018
Verto education is a great first year abroad program for anyone that loves traveling, learning, and even maybe getting out of their comfort zone. The experiences that we had with NGO’s, homestays and hikes really showed us all about the country and taught us more. The site visits really tied to our classwork and helped us learn about what we learned in class but with hands on. Verto Education is a very hands-on experience when it comes to classwork and learning but they also have many fun trips throughout the semesters we are abroad. Highly recommend this gap year program to anyone. The group leaders are also very helpful with school work and want you to be successful throughout the semesters. They are always there to help you and make you better at what you’re struggling at.
South Pacific, Fall 2019
In Fiji, I experienced different cultures and ways of life that have impacted the way I view the world today and forever. The semester was filled with adventure and personal growth. I loved the experiential learning aspect of the trip- we were not sitting in classrooms but rather experiencing and learning at the same time. I learned a lot about the environment by actually putting myself in different settings and learning how to create a more sustainable world. I found that I gained so much knowledge about myself, my perspective on the world, and ultimate understanding of the universe.
Costa Rica, Fall 2021
One of the most amazing parts of this experience is how much confidence it’s given me in myself and my future. After living in a foreign country for 3.5 months, I’d like to think that I can do pretty much anything. I wanted to come here to figure out what I want to do with my life, and even though I still haven’t, I think I’m closer to finding out what it is. So, moral of the story is, if you ever get an opportunity like this, take it. It might be hard at first, but without uncertainty, life would be pretty boring, so take advantage of the adventures that are in store!
Hawaii, Spring 2021 & Costa Rica, Fall 2021
A special quote that I was told during my time with Verto that says ‘You are a river, not a rock. Practice adaptability, flow.’ Practicing this mindset while adjusting to the challenge of living abroad led to personal growth and ultimately made my experience with Verto an incredible and unforgettable one. Being with Verto has equipped me with the skills and strengths I need to navigate through the challenges of life. I feel a newfound sense of excitement to explore the world, am adaptable to whatever life throws at me, and am ready to grow from every opportunity.
Southeast Asia, Fall 2019
This was my first time traveling out of the country, let alone to spend three months with people I’ve never met. At first, it was intimidating, adjusting to the environment, and getting to know everyone. When I got back from this trip people asked how it went. What I found was that this wasn’t just an ordinary trip. My experience abroad with Verto was unique. And what made it unique was the people, my personal journey, and the cultural experiences. I loved my cohort! The professors were amazing, fun, and interesting people. Not only did I learn from them during class but also out of class they taught me a lot. Our guides were all around the best!
Latin America, Fall 2018
My experience with Verto Education was a life-altering one and an arduous one. However, I could never be more grateful for what it has taught me. I realized things about myself that I didn’t know before. I plan on returning back to my initial homestay, the Dominican Republic has a place within my heart. I learned a tremendous amount from the NGO’s and really felt that I was intellectually fulfilled. The classes touched every aspect that interested me. I want to acknowledge my leaders Jackie and Brian for truly caring for my self-growth and well being as a student. Verto Education actually fulfilled my lifelong dream of staying with an indigenous community! I work with Aboriginals from Australia and loved learning about the Bri Bri culture. I would 110 percent recommend this program to someone else.
Latin America, Spring 2020
I found out about Verto Education at a time in my life when I really needed to know that there was another way for me to begin life after high school. I feel so lucky to have been able to travel with Verto as it was a truly challenging and rewarding experience that made me a better and more educated person. Not only is it great for earning college credit and learning in new and strange environments, but it’s extremely fun and you’ll meet so many great people that become so important to you. Every experience is probably one you’ve never done before and one that you’ll remember forever.
South Pacific, Spring 2020
The Verto team was very supportive and fun the entire semester, I had so many crazy and immersive experiences when we got to visit villages in Fiji and white water rafting in New Zealand. The classes and teachers were very interesting and informative. One of my favorite memories was being in Nausori village with my host family and learning all about the Fijian culture and traditions. One day we woke up at sunrise and hiked to the top of the mountain with our host brother, on our last night there he took us to his farm and we had a bonfire on the edge of a cliff, it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.
My daughter was introduced to the Verto experience in her senior year of high school. She has always been interested in studying abroad and this seemed like a great opportunity for her. I was nervous about her going so far away for so long, but my fears were quickly put to rest seeing how happy and well taken care of my child was while away. She did two semesters with Verto. The first was Latin America followed by South Pacific. Reading and talking about what the students would be doing while away was exciting but the actual experiences my child had was like nothing I could have ever imagined.
My daughter Raffie found Verto Education while on Instagram, read up on it, and applied immediately. As her mom, I have also done my research. I am incredibly impressed with the forward-thinking of this educational platform. Clearly your founder Mitch Gordon had a vision a few short years ago that would begin the transformation of the traditional college education. Now with the current pandemic, this platform is more relevant than ever…and way ahead of the curve for alternative plans for the fall semester. We have yet to hear of concrete plans for the universities to which Raffie was accepted. It is comforting that you are well focused and have options. Thank you. While I can’t say with certainty at this point that Verto is in Raffie’s future, I can say it is a very high probability.
My daughter was in Fiji, when COVID-19 became a worldwide concern. The staff at Verto handled the situation beautifully. 100% concern was for getting all of those kids home safely. I was communicated with during every step and they made us feel as comfortable as possible! In addition, when she got home classes continued as planned and every effort was made to provide virtual experiences. There was a unity provided by Verto team; They made lemonade out of lemons. I know my daughter truly enjoyed her experience. She made an incredible connection with many of the staff members and students. She was very sad when she had to come home and even sadder the day virtual classes ended. She has always had a love for travel, but this has made her more eager to travel the world.
Excellent program for our daughter that was focused on both academics and service. We are very happy and it’s definitely an experience we would like to give our younger kids in the future. Awesome work by the leaders on teaching college-bound students on life skills and time management. I was one of those parents that knew very little about the program but was reassured by High Point University that the program was safe and transformative. I’m glad I decided to embark my daughter on this trip for her first semester of college. She is ready to continue her studies in a college environment with a different perspective of life. For all the parents that are hesitant on sending their child to study abroad, do not be afraid. It is a supervised program with great leaders.
From Education Professionals
Director of Transition and Guidance, Landmark School
In this time of uncertainty and the prospect of more virtual, Verto education provides students with the opportunity to continue their education in a live format. I work with students who do best with hand-on learning, interactive classes, and project-based assignments. Students who are concerned about the prospect of beginning or moving to online classes in their freshman year are considering other options. Verto provides a great option while also allowing students to stay on track for meeting their educational goals. The wide range of colleges that has partnered with Verto makes it a great option for a wide variety of students at various levels and with a wide range of educational needs and goals. As a parent of college-age students myself, I appreciate the great attention that Verto has placed both on student experience and student security.
Assistant Head of Upper School, Riverdale Country School
Even before many of our seniors started to consider taking a gap year, I was already a proponent of gap years. That is what led me to suggest Verto to some of my students. With Verto students can have their gap year and the college credit to graduate in four years. The credits and the available scholarships have made this a financially responsible option for my students. Given the many uncertainties of the next school, Verto’s strong and in-person program is now also a safer option. I have supported Verto since its founding and have been excited by its growing number of partner colleges and universities. Students benefit in so many ways from a gap year, and Verto offers that meaningful experience with college credit.
Post-Secondary School Counselor, Fryeburg Academy
With so many uncertainties and questions in today’s world, should a senior delay his or her post-secondary education? An excellent alternative to selecting direct college entry as a freshman is to continue one’s education in a small setting, where limited interaction with others can be provided. Completing first semester or an entire year of college at Verto, provides an opportunity for learning away from large groups of students, offers direct instruction rather than online learning, and human connection with supervision. It is a wonderful way to consider other opportunities for a year while our world recalibrates to the changes that have been thrust upon us. This is the time to brave uncertainty and open yourself to an opportunity of leadership, creativity and innovation that Verto can provide.
Jason A. Vallozzi
Founder, Campus to Career Crossroads
I have the utmost confidence in recommending Verto Education to my clients. Verto Education’s unique concept in providing unparalleled international gap year experiences while simultaneously allowing students to earn college credits has eclipsed the bar set by other gap year programs. Verto has selectively and strategically built its consortium to progressively partner with over forty highly respected colleges. Students can be on pace to graduate in four years while having direct admissions to a partner college. Another reason for my strong confidence in recommending Verto Education is because of Ben Welbourn’s commitment to student-centric successes. Ben is dedicated to placing the student’s best interest in the forefront while providing an innovative gap year program. I have personally witnessed the respect Ben receives at affiliate colleges because he connects engaged students who positively impact their campus. If you are considering a gap year program, Verto Education needs to be at the top of your list!
Associate Director of College Counseling, United Nations International School
As a college counselor, I work with students every year who are looking for a traditional four-year college experience but may want a little more time after high school to travel and explore before beginning that adventure. Verto offers exactly this — in a much more innovative and affordable way. Students can still have that traditional college experience, with a built-in semester of travel and self-exploration in one of many amazing locations. I joined Verto’s board because I see tremendous value in experiences that prioritize access and inclusivity, and that empower students to tackle a “typical” college experience after their time abroad—with direct admission afterward, at that. It’s truly the best of all worlds.
Director of College Guidance, Albuquerque Academy
Many students choose not to take a gap year because they want to stay on track to graduate from college and they are concerned about the costs. Verto has hacked the gap year—providing all the benefits of time away from classroom learning while eliminating the downsides. I am a big believer in Gap Years. Research has begun to confirm what I have found through my own gap year and decades of working with students: taking time between high school and college to experience the world, connect to learning through experience, and spend time in self-reflection leads to higher GPAs in college, greater satisfaction in choice of majors, lower incidences of disciplinary issues, and increased likelihood of graduating in four years. When I learned about Verto, I invited them to come present to our entire junior class. I think everyone should consider Verto as they are going through their college search.
Director, Guidance & College Counseling, Manchester-Essex Regional Middle High School
At a time when there is endless chatter about the college search and whether or not some universities will be open in the fall, Verto Education provides a safe harbor in this storm of speculation. I have been a fan and supporter of Verto since it’s beginning – excited to see a unique higher education option take hold and offer college bound seniors a safe, meaningful, and growth-enhancing experience while earning college credit and enhancing their learning in partnerships with 45 different colleges and universities. The team at Verto invests energy and attention to each student, ensuring that he or she understands the application process, is aware of available scholarships, and stays connected throughout. We are enthusiastic about two of our seniors pursuing a college plan with Verto this fall. My only regret is that I cannot go with them!
Associate Director of College Counseling, Kents Hill School
As a current secondary school counselor, I know that finding the right gap year experience is just as important as finding the right college; it is all about fit, and I advise my students accordingly. As an educator, I chose to join the advisory board for Verto Education because I believe in the mission of the organization and I have faith in its ability to deliver transformational experiences for students that will end in all of the qualities that I previously noted and the added benefit of college credits wrapped in a global perspective. My own gap experience delayed my college start by one year, which is common for many programs, and it is a decision I will never regret. The Verto difference is that students have the opportunity to gain all that a gap year can provide while getting a jump-start on their college path. Verto does not delay or defer higher education, it provides alternate starting points with a world of possibilities and even greater outcomes.
Independent Educational Consultant
As a college counselor, my goal is to help students map the next steps in their lives, starting with understanding themselves better. Those eighteen-year-olds who have figured out their strengths, their vulnerabilities, and what motivates them, make the transition to college in a much better position to have a successful and meaningful experience. Verto Education’s combination of enriching cultural experiences, college-level instruction, and a devotion to student’s personal growth is a real stand-out among programs for high school grads who will benefit from a semester outside of the classroom. Verto is an exceptional program for its experiential education with high-touch support, while also partnering with numerous colleges to provide academic credit. Verto students go on to college with the focus and tools to succeed.