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  • Writer's pictureAlison Merzel

A Gap Year with College Credit

You have likely heard of a Gap Year by now if you hadn't before - with so many colleges and universities offering only remote instruction, more students than ever have been requesting to defer their enrollment to take a year off, hoping that they can begin a more traditional college experience next fall.

What is a Gap Year anyway? According to the Gap Year Association, it is "A semester or year of experiential learning, typically taken after high school and prior to career or post-secondary education, in order to deepen one's practical, professional, and personal awareness." There has been research to support the benefits of a Gap Year and admissions officers see value in students who have taken one - for years Harvard has offered and encouraged each of its admitted students the chance to defer enrollment to take a Gap Year. There are numerous programs that cater to Gap Year students and the Gap Year Association is an extremely helpful resource to identify the types of programs that are out there and to evaluate their quality. While many of the typical Gap Year programs have been postponed or changed due to COVID-19, there are virtual opportunities available.

I want to bring to your attention a unique opportunity to gain the benefits of a Gap Semester or Gap Year while also gaining college credit. Verto Education partners with colleges and universities to offer a global academic experience that is part of a four-year college education. Students who participate in a Verto program can gain 12-16 college credits per semester and enter college as a second semester freshman or first semester sophomore when they enroll. Verto classes are taught by highly vetted faculty members and cover topics like Global Health, Environmental Science, and Identity, Politics and Equity. The program focuses on global citizenship and development of leadership skills, preparing students to be more engaged and active participants when they arrive on a college campus.

Students apply to Verto through a free and easy application process, select up to 5 partner schools of interest and will receive an admissions decision for both Verto and a partner school within 2-3 weeks. The admission offer to the partner school is non-binding, so students can select to attend Verto and choose to enroll in another college or university. It is a great way to secure admission early on to one of their 45 partner colleges, however. While this fall's semester will be offered online, they do plan to offer the in-person experience globally in spring 2021. Verto has programs domestically in Hawaii and globally in England, Italy, Spain, Costa Rica/Dominican Republic and the South Pacific.

Rising seniors can apply now to be considered for next year. Financial aid is available, just like for college, and the cost to attend Verto is significantly less than a traditional year on a college campus.

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