Northwestern students make camp during Portage.

Portage: The Journey Begins

Dive into friendships, thinking and experiential learning—all of which will be part of your Northwestern experience—by participating in Portage. Portage is a wilderness experience designed for incoming freshmen and transfer students. In August, prior to Orientation, Portage takes students on an outdoor adventure in Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA). While camping, canoeing and portaging (carrying your canoe overland), you'll have a chance to explore your faith and character as you prepare to get as much as you can—learning with your head and heart—from your college experience.

Christian community—it's wild!

Portage leaders are experienced wilderness instructors who have participated in Coldwater Foundation's Wilderness Leadership Expedition, have completed the full wilderness instructor training, and are certified in first aid and as a first responder. They'll guide your exploration of what it means to be a Christian in community while you work together to navigate the BWCA, talk around the campfire each night, and spend time journaling and reflecting.

Participation costs $450 and is limited to the first 24 students who register. Scholarships are available; email Coldwater Foundation for information.

A Coldwater Foundation program, Portage is endorsed by Northwestern College's Franken Leadership Center to promote and foster a lifestyle of leadership on NWC's campus.

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Northwestern students blog about life as Red Raiders. Visit our NWC Stories website to read about what they’re learning and experiencing–and who they’re becoming.

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We our studentsand our students love us

“During my time at Northwestern, I’ve gained a sense of belonging.”

Erica Kitchenmaster Erica Kitchenmaster ’20 Music education major from Lake Andes, South Dakota

Erica's story

“At Northwestern, I’ve gained much more than just an education. I’ve developed connections that will help me to further my career, relationships that will last a lifetime, memories I will treasure forever, and a renewed and deepened faith.”

Kessandra Kuyper Kessandra Kuyper ’19 Exercise science major from Dakota City, Iowa

Kessandra's story

“I chose Northwestern because of the great dorm life I experienced when I visited on a RED101 Day during my senior year. I remember playing Settlers of Catan, and everyone in the residence hall I stayed in treated me like I was part of the family.”

Thomas Heitritter Thomas Heitritter ’20 Actuarial science, finance and economics major from Boyden, Iowa

Thomas's story

“It wasn’t until I asked a tutor for assistance for the first time that I realized how helpful peer tutoring can be.”

Matt Scott Matt Scott ’19 Actuarial Science major from Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Matt's story

“The faith-based education, the friendliness of everyone I met, and the tight-knit community that makes up Northwestern weren’t found at the other schools I looked at.”

Hope De Ruyter Hope De Ruyter ’19 Psychology major from Rock Valley, Iowa

Hope's story

“Northwestern’s education faculty are absolutely amazing. They truly want to see you succeed and want to get to know you on a personal level.”

Trevor Rozeboom Trevor Rozeboom ’20 Elementary education major from Rock Rapids, Iowa

Trevor's story

“I truly love and enjoy this college beyond belief. Choosing to attend here was definitely one of my greatest decisions.”

Grahm Kenobbie Grahm Kenobbie ’20 Philosophy and computer science major from Phoenix, Arizona

Grahm's story

“The biology department provides many opportunities to do individual and group research. Once we learn the lab techniques, our professors give us the freedom to use what we know to solve big questions in the lab. That prepares us for future research and helps us develop problem-solving skills.”

Katie DeKruyff Katie DeKruyff ’19 Genetics/Molecular Biology/Cellular Biology major from Fontana, California

Katie's story

“Through my courses at Northwestern, I’ve been able to learn about different theological ideas without doubting the importance of the central truth of the gospel. I’ve also been able to grapple with new and ancient ways to worship God. Wrestling with both of these has strengthened my faith.”

Heather Van Itallie Heather Van Itallie ’20 Christian Education and Youth Ministry major from Davenport, Iowa

Heather's story

“I really love the idea of interdisciplinary study that the Honors Program offers. This really interests me because my majors are so different, and because I love to learn as much as I can. In fact, I wanted to major in four or five disciplines, but that’s not feasible, so instead I enrolled in the Honors Program because it promises experience in fields outside of your own, which is really cool.”

Landon Van Berkum Landon Van Berkum ’22 Computer science and history major from Everson, Washington

Landon's story

“My professors know who all my classmates and I are and have a genuine interest in our success.”

Regan Scott Regan Scott ’19 Business administration and marketing major from Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Regan's story

“It wasn’t until I asked a tutor for assistance for the first time that I realized how helpful peer tutoring can be.”

Matt Scott Matt Scott ’19 Actuarial Science major from Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Matt's story

“The opportunities I've had in the English department have led to professional growth as well as helped me build close relationships with professors and fellow English majors.”

Schuyler Sterk Schuyler Sterk ’21 English teaching major from Belle Plaine, Minnesota

Schuyler's story

“My history major has changed the way I think and look at the world. I’m much better at thinking critically and organizing details into a coherent whole than I was coming in as a freshman. Even if my career path should take unexpected turns in the future, I think these skills will be very useful.”

Abby Ver Mulm Abby Ver Mulm ’20 History major from Rock Valley, Iowa

Abby's story

“I have loved working with every professor in the Spanish department. They are all so kind and all demonstrate their dedication to students and their jobs.”

Suresh Portillo Suresh Portillo ’20 translation and interpretation major from San Francisco, California

Suresh's story

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