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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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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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

“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

“What motivated me to come here is that the college has a very diverse soccer team with highly skilled players, and it offers a strong academic program that includes a wide range of business degrees.”

Jacobo Garcia-Nieto de la Orden Jacobo Garcia-Nieto de la Orden ’19 Finance and Management major from Barcelona, Spain

Jacobo'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

“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

“I would tell students who are considering studying abroad to take the leap and do it. It teaches you so much about who you are, and you learn so much about other people.”

McKinley  Fopma McKinley  Fopma ’20 Accounting and business administration major from Pella, Iowa

McKinley '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

“Besides an education, I have gained meaningful relationships with my professors and peers at Northwestern. I have also gained a broader understanding of my place in the world both as a Christian and a scientist.”

Peace Preston Peace Preston ’19 Chemistry major from Spencer, Iowa

Peace's story

“The professors here care so much, it is amazing. I have been mentored, molded, formed, invited over to their homes, and just overall loved very well by them. My biggest recommendation is to get to know your professors outside the classroom. It is well worth your time.”

Jimmy Tidmore Jimmy Tidmore ’19 Spanish and religion major from Lawton, Iowa

Jimmy'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

“At Northwestern, I’ve gained true friendships.”

Alex Currier Alex Currier ’19 Sociology major from Ottawa, Kansas

Alex's story

“Every Northwestern professor I have been privileged to take a class with or casually encounter during an activity on campus or at church has been absolutely gracious and inspiring.”

Adebola Adeyemo Adebola Adeyemo ’20 Public relations major from Lagos, Nigeria

Adebola'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

“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

“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

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