With the societal shock of the COVID-19 crisis, many prospective students are looking for alternatives to the traditional linear path linking graduation from high school to matriculating on campus to college. Catholic University’s new partnership with Verto Education offers an international first-year experience that guarantees acceptance, accrues college credit, and still enables students to graduate in four years.
International study remains a highlight of many college careers, but most students delay that decision until the sophomore or junior year. With programs in the U.K., Italy, Spain, New Zealand, Australia, and the U.S., Verto Education presents a new option for students interested in a possible gap semester or gap year before enrolling on campus.
Students may apply to the Verto program and a partner college or university simultaneously, or may apply to Verto after their admission to Catholic University. On completion of their international study programs with Verto, accepted students are guaranteed a slot on campus in the spring semester of the first year or first semester of sophomore year, according to their preference.
“The Verto Education model is distinctive because it connects a gap adventure with a four-year degree plan. With more students considering a gap before starting the residential college experience, we want to be as flexible as possible in giving prospective students a choice about how and where to begin their college studies,” says Christopher Lydon, vice president for enrollment management and marketing. “Our new partnership with Verto may be an ideal situation for students to take some time to explore the world and reflect on what they want their college experience to be, while taking part in accredited courses that provide college credit and keeps them on a 4-year track to graduation.”
Study abroad can also give them a head start on building their sense of independence, gaining cultural competence, creating networks, perhaps sharpening language skills, and learning how to navigate an increasingly multicultural, global economy, adds Verto Education president and cofounder Mitch Gordon. Experiential learning abroad can be a huge advantage when applying for jobs. Of the more than 40,000 employers in a recent QS Global Employer Survey, more than 80 percent said they actively sought graduates who had studied abroad; 60 percent would give extra consideration to a candidate with international study experience.
“Our mission is to make higher education accessible, affordable, and achievable for all by providing a safe, innovative, and enriched way for students to incorporate travel and learning into a four-year college degree,” said Gordon. “Students attending our programs are exposed to life-changing experiences that help clarify their academic interests and potential career paths early. We believe this promotes positive student outcomes.”
Global health, international business, environmental science, European and world history, comparative philosophy, international development, sustainability, and species conservation are some of the popular first-year courses Verto offers in appealing locations such as London, Milan, Madrid, and Maui. Each accredited program emphasizes small classes, cultural immersion, and a focus on helping students achieve — through challenging coursework, mentorship, service learning, and a homestay experience — a more rewarding first-year experience in many unique and distinct regions across the world.