In our “Should I Take a Year Off” post, we talked about some of the major cons of taking time off before college. Gap years can be expensive, stressful to plan, and potentially set students back from graduating on time and beginning their careers.
We like to say that Verto is not a gap year because our students don’t experience any “gap.” With a Verto semester, students get to have the epic adventures of a year off while still sticking to their college plans. Our programs offer a more rewarding route to the same graduation destination, while still being affordable and accessible.
Verto semesters are carefully designed to address common concerns about taking time off before college so that students can pursue an alternative and exciting path completely stress-free.
Here’s how Verto semesters offer solutions to some of the potential problems of a gap year.
The Gap Year Problem: Taking time off may hinder students’ ability to graduate in 4 years.
The Verto Solution: Students can still graduate in 4 years or less.
When students participate in a Verto semester, they have already planned ahead to stay on track to graduate. Once accepted by Verto, they are guaranteed acceptance into at least one of our nearly 40 partner colleges with a reserved enrollment spot the following spring or fall. This helps to streamline the college admissions process, reducing stress and securing students’ post-Verto plans so that no time is wasted.
Additionally, students on a Verto Field semester earn full class credits just like students at a typical four-year college would, so their semester with Verto counts towards their requirements for graduation. These credits are already established with our partner colleges. For students who plan on attending a non-partner college, we are more than happy to work with them and their school’s representative to help the student transfer their credit.
Through this unique approach, we are able to ensure that students under financial or other pressures can still graduate in four years or less.
The Gap Year Problem: Gap years can be expensive and further contribute to student loans.
The Verto Solution: The cost of a Verto semester is comparable to, if not cheaper than, the cost of a standard university semester.
Affordability and accessibility are critical parts of Verto’s mission. We believe in catering to realistic student budgets in order to minimize student loan debt which is why we ensure that our semesters are an affordable choice for families.
We have also recently introduced the Verto Education Opportunity Grant to make a Verto semester even more accessible. For those who receive the grant, the cost of the semester can be reduced to as low as $5,000. Considering that the average cost of study abroad has been found to hover around $18,000 per semester, our Opportunity Grant is an exceptional opportunity to make study abroad more accessible.
The Gap Year Problem: Gap years can be hard to plan for; it’s stressful to organize a whole year’s worth of high-quality learning experiences and adventures on your own.
The Verto Solution: Everything on a Verto semester is planned for you by experts in travel and experiential education.
With Verto, students can have a meaningful experience abroad completely stress free. The logistics are all taken care of months before the departure date. We arrange students’ stays, classes, and all travel between Verto destinations.
The only hard choice students have to make is between our handful of incredible offerings. We currently offer unique campus programs in England, Italy, and Spain, as well as field semester experiences covering Latin America and the South Pacific. Whether students are craving city life or rural immersion, Spanish-language courses or lessons in International Business, we have a pre-planned adventure ready to go.
While the locations, program focuses, and individual experiences are different, attention to detail, participant safety, education, and overall value of the experiences are not.
The Gap Year Problem: Going against the grain might feel scary or overwhelming.
The Verto Solution: There are tons of support systems in place to help students feel safe, happy, and confident on their programs.
We know it can be hard for students to take the road less traveled especially when they fear hearing stories from their friends enjoying a “traditional” freshman year. Keeping this in mind, we structure our programs intentionally to help students feel comfortable and aligned with their purpose from the get-go.
Our pre-departure orientation helps all students start off their Verto semester on the right foot, regardless of if they’ve ever traveled or been abroad before.
The first few days of every semester are dedicated to team building and creating an atmosphere in which students feel supported to learn and grow. Students get to know one another better and determine group norms through various bonding activities.
This programming is facilitated by our staff who receive diversity and cultural sensitivity training so that all of our students feel supported and welcome no matter what background they come from. Additionally, our cohorts are led by program leaders who travel with students from start to finish, offering emotional and logistical support to the group. These program leaders facilitate one-on-one and small group mentorship so that students always have a safe space where they will feel heard and encouraged.
We have heard from students that their cohorts become a family for life and that the friendships they made through Verto were even more profound than those from their college freshman year.
The Gap Year Problem: A gap year may or may not lead to students’ growth and future success. It’s a toss-up.
The Verto Solution: All aspects of a Verto education are thoughtfully structured to facilitate students’ self-development.
Every day on a Verto semester is programmed intentionally to give students a hands-on education they could never have in a typical college classroom. Students get access to genuine cultural immersion opportunities, behind-the-scenes looks at local programs and businesses, and exposure to diverse perspectives on life.
Our courses are built to help students develop the skills they need for future success. College prep is incorporated into all classes; students learn skills such as how to structure college-level papers or how to carefully choose texts for their thesis. The Rhetoric and Composition course is designed especially to facilitate integrated thinking, reflection, and analysis skills. The assignments for the course are always grounded in the topics students care most about, so that writing becomes a tool for deeper reflection and exploration.
Through their field work, students gain real-world experience which enhances their skill sets and employability.
Students also participate in Purpose Finding workshops throughout the semester where they integrate what they are learning in and out of the classroom and gain critical communication and listening skills. By the end of the semester, students walk away with a better sense of self and move into their next phase of life with confidence and purpose.
Verto programs address the concerns of a gap year and combine the best elements from so many abroad options.
Through Verto, students can travel the world while still earning general education credits towards graduation, for a tuition that beats the cost of many colleges. They’ll gain in-depth knowledge of subjects and have tons of hands-on experience to show. It is not a “gap year” because our students don’t experience any gap! They can still graduate on time, deepen their education, AND travel the world. All this while having meaningful engagement with diverse communities and meeting new friends across the globe.
At Verto, we believe that taking a first-year abroad is not only beneficial, but completely do-able when you find a program that works for you. We’d love to chat if you want to learn more about how we can make a semester abroad possible for you.