Northwestern students canoe 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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To reward you, we offer academic scholarships from $8,000 to $18,000. Visit our scholarships webpage to get an idea of what 4-year academic scholarship you’ll automatically receive when you apply, get accepted and enroll.

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Standout stories
Recent grads talk about what they learned at
Northwestern, what they loved about Raider Nation,
and how they hope to lead lives of significance.

Meet our grads

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I Northwestern
Our students love Raider Nation. They love the tight-knit community, their classes and professors, and opportunities to grow as Christians. They love feeling like they belong. See for yourself. You’ll love it.

We our studentsand our students love us

“My favorite part of Northwestern is the relationships I've built here. The love of Christ radiates through every person on campus, and all the Christ-centered friendships I've made reflect that love and have encouraged my spiritual growth.”

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

Schuyler's story

“What I love the most about Northwestern College is my fellow students and my professors. The atmosphere of Northwestern facilitates the development of close relationships, and that reason alone is why I came here.”

Noah Karmann Noah Karmann ’21 Political science and history major from Columbus, Nebraska

Noah's story

“The best things about the physics department at Northwestern are the challenging courses and the professors’ you-can-do-it attitude. Together, they produce high student achievement.”

Steven Van Meeteren Steven Van Meeteren ’22 Biophysics, chemistry and mathematics major from Sheldon, Iowa

Steven's story

“All of my professors have been extremely invested in both my learning and in my life. They are all passionate about both science and their faith, and they are always willing to field questions about either of these things.”

Noah Gritters Noah Gritters ’21 Biology–health professions, chemistry and mathematics major from Pella, Iowa

Noah's story

“I encourage students to attend Northwestern if they’re looking for a place where they can stand out. The wonderful thing about Northwestern is that it is really easy to find your niche and form lasting friendships.”

Sofia Schaeffer Sofia Schaeffer ’22 Theatre major from Spearfish, South Dakota

Sofia's story

“Northwestern is full of genuine people because the ethos of campus encourages everyone to get out there and just be yourself. I love that. In Hospers Hall we have a saying, "You belong simply because you exist." That's true in Hospers, and it's true at Northwestern.”

Kitrick Fynaardt Kitrick Fynaardt ’21 Math and computer science major from Alton, Iowa

Kitrick's story

“I applied to be part of the Honors Program for several reasons, one being that I wished to give myself the best opportunity to be pushed and to strive to achieve the highest of honors. To not challenge myself at this stage would feel as though I’m selling myself short. What makes this program even more desirable is the faculty; I appreciate that my professors are scholars who wish to promote the growth of each student.”

Jonathan Johnson Jonathan Johnson ’21 Business administration and psychology major from Bellflower, California

Jonathan's story

“I’ve always liked helping others in need. Not only does helping people in the tutor center give me satisfaction, but the part I love the most is when the student leaves the center understanding the topic.”

Sammy Blum Sammy Blum ’21 Biology–health professions major from Rock Valley, Iowa

Sammy's story

“I encourage students to choose Northwestern if they’re seeking intimate learning environments that focus on cultivating connections and interdisciplinary skills.”

Ali Almail Ali Almail ’21 Art and genetics, molecular and cellular biology major from Sanad, Bahrain

Ali's story

“Northwestern faculty and staff do a great job of challenging me. They hold high standards that are achievable and attainable. ”

Taylor VanderVelde Taylor VanderVelde ’22 Biology-health professions major from Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Taylor's story

“I’m learning, being equipped professionally, and growing in my faith. I’m not only absorbing theory, but practicing what is being taught by professors, staff and other students.”

Celina Corrales Celina Corrales ’23 Christian Education/Youth Ministry and Worship Arts major from Choluteca, Honduras

Celina's story

“I love that Northwestern has become a second home and that no matter what, I’ll always have people who support me like family.”

Hayden Lee Hayden Lee ’22 Social work major from Long Beach, California

Hayden's story

“I chose Northwestern because of the people. Students and faculty are very personable and willing to engage in conversation, whether it’s about academics, athletics or campus life. Northwestern makes me feel like I’m at home even when I’m away from home. ”

Jacob Lynott Jacob Lynott ’22 Nursing major from Hawarden, Iowa

Jacob's story

“I chose Northwestern for the community. I wanted to be at a place where I knew not only my peers, but also the professors and staff. When I visited Northwestern, I could see all the students felt like they belonged, and that is how I wanted to feel.”

Michaela Kleinwolterink Michaela Kleinwolterink ’21 Accounting major from Sheldon, Iowa

Michaela's story

“Northwestern has given me a better environment to focus on my academics and athletics. I have also been able to form strong relationships with my peers and coaches and grow in my relationship with God.”

Dabby Anyadike Dabby Anyadike ’22 Business administration major from Los Angeles, California

Dabby's story

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