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

“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

“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

“Studying political science at Northwestern has shown me there isn't just one type of Christian politician ... it's more complex than that.”

Brant Vermeer Brant Vermeer ’19 Political science and economics major from Pella, Iowa

Brant'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

“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

“One of my social work profs says we're trying to work ourselves out of a job. I think one of the most rewarding things we can do is help someone help themselves.”

Amy Tuttle Amy Tuttle ’19 Social work and Spanish major from Orange City, Iowa

Amy's story

“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

“I’ve learned through studying theatre at Northwestern that God speaks to us through stories, and we can seek God and glorify him through using our talents to tell stories to connect with other people.”

Rebecca Ochoa Rebecca Ochoa ’19 Theatre major from Cedar Falls, Iowa

Rebecca'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

“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

“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

“I appreciate how much the nursing faculty care for us. If we are struggling in a class or are not understanding something very well, they will take the time to help us out and make sure we are back on the right track. They do a very good job of both teaching us and making sure we know they care about us.”

Grant Rohrer Grant Rohrer ’20 Nursing major from Slayton, Minnesota

Grant'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 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

“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

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