Posted on

Five Reasons to Become a Counselor

 So, you’re thinking about becoming a counselor. Amazing, you are needed! A career in helping is rewarding and fascinating. Your career will focus on understanding human behavior and promoting positive change in individuals, families, or groups.

I will share a few insider secrets with 5 more benefits of the profession!

  1. Freedom
    Be your own boss. If you choose to start your own private practice, you can set your hours. Work when you want to work.

  2. Fulfilling
    Learn and experience a deep appreciation for humanity. See God’s miracles firsthand as you guide people toward healing and holistic health.
  3. Never Grow Bored
    Choose a specialty that excites you. Then, later in your career, choose a new specialty that excites you all over again!

  4. Self-Awareness
    This is a profession where you ARE the “tool” that is used to help the client. Much like a surgeon must keep her scalpel sharp…a counselor must keep herself AWARE. That is, you have to work on your “issues” and continue your personal growth. Balance and acceptance are key.

  5. Mandatory Self-Care
    As a counselor, you will have to practice mandatory self-care. This is the holistic kind that requires setting boundaries, self-compassion, and having down time…just to mention a few.

I’m excited you’re preparing to join the counseling team! There will never be a dull moment unless it is one you’ve scheduled in your calendar.

Learn more about Northwestern's online M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling programs. 


  About the Author

Dr. Julie Merriman is an associate professor and clinical coordinator for Northwestern's online Master of Arts in Mental Health and School Counseling programs. Dr. Merriman’s background in the mental health field ranges from running her own private practice since 1999 to being a school counselor to running an adolescent
program to creating a school for severely emotionally disturbed students to serving as
a director for Abilene Psychiatric Hospital. She currently maintains her private practice in Meridian, Texas. 

Author Dr. Julie Merriman

Posted on

Kari Mueller, Master of Education '20

Kari was nominated by her faculty as a student who constantly sought to better her practice while exhibiting the key pillars of Northwestern Raiders. Her dedication to high-quality work and positive, faith-filled peer interaction is something to be emulated. Kari's journey included unexpected hardship as she underwent cancer treatment while continuing her master's degree and teaching - and handled it all with a grace that is deeply inspiring.

We celebrate Kari, 6th-grade teacher, mom, wife, teacher leader and breast cancer warrior.
She earned her Master of Education in Teacher Leadership.

 In the fall of 2018, I made the decision to finish my master's degree online. After searching and reaching out to many colleges, I knew right away that NWC Online was the best fit for me. I am a 5th/6th-grade special education teacher at Okoboji Middle School, teacher leader, wife, and mom. Juggling all of that was going to be difficult. What I wasn’t prepared for, was a diagnosis that would throw my life a curveball. I finished the Fall term and part of the Spring term with a breeze. That all changed in May. I felt a lump one morning by chance. Due to family history, I got into the doctor that morning. What followed was a series of events that led to a Stage 3 Breast Cancer diagnosis.

I reached out to my professors and advisor right away to let them know my circumstances.
They are the reason I kept moving forward with finishing out my master's degree while also receiving treatment.
Their faith, compassion, and understanding gave me hope that I could reach this long-term goal of mine. My family was my rock throughout my diagnosis and continuing my education. My husband took on so much to allow me time to work and research. The boys’ grandparents were our angels that kept the boys for most of the summer while I received a chemo that was hard on my body.

It was through my online classes that kept my mind focused and distracted from my disease.

In the fall of 2019, I was able to continue teaching part-time. I taught 3 days a week due to chemo treatments and a day of rest. My colleagues, administration, and students always took care of me. I was showered with love, kindness, cards, gifts, food, and prayers throughout my journey that kept me going strong.

I am so thankful for all of the people in my life that gave me support, inspired me to keep fighting, and motivated me to continue moving forward with my degree.

Because of my education through Northwestern, I was able to pause and reflect on my career and change my approaches as a teacher and leader. The classes challenged my thinking, faith, and instruction. Going forward, my mindset has shifted to a more open-minded approach as I work alongside other teachers to meet our students’ needs. My experience through Northwestern was wonderful. What I loved most about my experience was how each of my classes challenged my faith-based practices in and out of the classroom.

The advice I would give other educators considering the same program is to be prepared for excellence. Build relationships and make connections in each of your classes to open up your career to more possibilities. Most importantly, be willing to try new things, accept challenges, and make mistakes as you learn and grow. 

Currently, I am a 6th-grade Language Arts and Social Studies teacher at Okoboji Middle School. Previously I taught Special Education for 13 years. What I love most about my job is building relationships with students. Making connections with students is such a beautiful thing and changes how I approach my instruction to meet the needs of my learners.


Posted on

For adult students, there can be a big time gap between completing one degree and pursuing the next. Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve been in the academic mode, or maybe you’re continuing right after a semester of classes. Either way, it can take time to adjust to new paper deadlines and adding one more thing to the busy-ness of life. We have found 3 keys to success to creating your personal “class time” - a consistent study time, location, and environment.   

Here are 3 tips to help you be successful in your academic goals:

  1. Set a routine

Develop a routine of studying in the same location, approximate time, and even day. Find where you work best and can feel distraction-free. This doesn’t have to be one sole space, if you can focus at a favorite coffee shop, your kitchen table, or empty classroom, it will establish a routine for motivated work time. You don’t have to pressure yourself to finish everything in one sitting. It can be helpful to break up the class assignment across the whole week with at least one rest day. Some students segment their homework time into 20-minute sections, which means you focus your attention on one item and then take a 5-10 minute break to stand up, go for walk or drink water in between your next 20-minute work session. Be creative with your in-between times. You may have a few minutes during a prep period or work break that you can check discussion questions; this way you can think about your answer on your drive home and be ready for your established study time. An academic routine integrated into daily life will help you meet your goals.

  1. Create study rules, and follow them

If you sometimes struggle with not feeling productive during your personal class time, set a few ground rules that you stick with. You might make sure you have a comfortable environment in your study area. Make sure you’re not having in back or wrist pain, have good lighting, and all your materials ready before you start. Your study zone might be sitting down with a cup of tea after the kids are in bed. Whatever you decide as your rules set them and stick to them. The structure lends to success.  

  1. Build a support team

Having accountability and support in pursuing your academic goals will help keep you on track. Share your routine and rules with your family, friends, and kids - so they can help you not only stick to it, but it also allows them to assist in creating the positive learning environment. Share with your classroom or co-workers about your academic pursuit. It will create mutual encouragement, and give them an opportunity to share in your accomplishments. What better inspiration than to show you’re always learning too! You may be an inspiration for others to pursue their goals. 

At Northwestern, we are your first academic support team. We are here because we want to make a difference in your life and walk alongside you to achieve your academic goals. 
Take a look at Northwestern's adult learning programs. 

Posted on

We often have questions about how and when students can pay their bills. We're here to help make the process as convenient as possible from online payment options to monthly payment plans.

Student payments are due by Aug. 1 for first semester and the second semester payments are due in January of the new semester by the 3rd of the month.  Online students can view their bill online and should make their payment online on MyNWC under the billing information tab.  Payment can be made with e-check which has no fee, or by credit card which has a 2.75% fee.

Online students may pay on a monthly payment plan by completing a monthly payment form found on MyNWC under the “billing information” tab. Enrollment for 1st semester must be made by July 1 and by November registration for the spring semester. The monthly payment form needs to be completed and e-mailed to the business office by the date given on the form.  First semester payments are due July 25, August 25, Sept. 25, Oct. 25 and November 25.  Second semester payments are due Dec. 25, January 25, February 25, March 25 and April 25.

There is a $25.00 per semester set up fee for monthly payments.  There is no additional interest charged unless your payment is delinquent.  In that case, you will owe the entire balance and interest of 1% per month will be charged to your account.  Monthly payments may change if you change your class schedule, or there is an adjustment in your financial aid package. 

If you do not make your payments, you will not be able to get into classes, Blackboard or use campus facilities and we cannot give you a diploma or release your transcripts or credentials until you settle your account. We are always available if you have questions!

please call (712-707-7125) or email (


Posted on

I’m excited to write my first blog for NWC!  What’s even more exciting is that I can write this about a fun topic that we all enjoy – FOOD!!

My goal in this particular blog is to give you some helpful hints in trying to manage your family schedule, homework, household chores, etc. while feeding your family.  I know that there are some weeks it seems I especially fail, so don’t feel that this is by any means the best method.  Make sure you give yourself some grace!

So how do I figure out what meals to make and when?  Well, there are a couple of methods I use:

  1. Look in your cupboards and freezer to see what should get eaten or has been sitting there for awhile. If it’s not expired, determine what you can make with it.  You can do this by looking for recipes that contain a few of your ingredients.  One of the best websites I have found for this is

  2. Take out one of your cookbooks each month and view recipes you think your family might like. Lay them out on a calendar according to your schedule. Make sure you write down any ingredients you might need for your next shopping trip to the grocery store. 
  3. Once a month sit down and plan your meals according to the family’s schedule. Make sure to assign crockpot meals for those nights you are super busy!  Also, build in some leftover days.  Make sure you take advantage of tailgates and fundraising meals at various churches, schools, and other community events!  It’s a great way to ease the stress and mess!
  4. Look at Pinterest for Meal Planning tips and tricks. Find one that best suits your family, food preferences, and lifestyle.
  5. Cook some meals with friends! I love to get together with a group of friends and set aside a day to make meals!  You can also participate in meal exchanges too!

Ultimately, you need to do what works for you and your family’s lifestyle.  No matter what or when you eat, I would encourage you to enjoy your family meals together!  Ask each other about your day.

Remember some of the fondest memories are made around the table together!


Crystal Rozeboom

Meet the Author

Crystal is the senior enrollment counselor for the Graduate School and Adult Learning. She works especially with our Master of Ed. students in preparing to begin the program, advising on classes and registration, and walking alongside as they progress to graduation. She also completed her MBA online all while balancing work, family, and life commitments.

When Crystal is not helping students register for classes or building programs of study, you might find her training for a half-marathon, cheering on her kid's sporting events, volunteering at church or cooking meals with friends.

Posted on

Enrolling in college is a huge step—whether it’s transferring to complete your degree or returning to school after some (or much!) time away. The transition to completing homework and writing papers on a regular basis can be intimidating at first. Thankfully, you are not alone in making the transition to academic life.

Academic support is available to those who need it. As a writing tutor at Northwestern, I have had the opportunity to help students in an online nursing course. While tutoring looks a little different online, we are here to walk alongside you to help you succeed.

Receiving feedback will be a different process than face-to-face interaction. However, the quality of support will remain the same, and tutors will go out of their way to help as much as they possibly can.

When asking for help, students will typically send an electronic copy of their paper via email. Depending on tutor and student availability, a time can then be set up to discuss the paper. Tutors aren’t there just to provide constructive criticism; we will also help you to capitalize on your strengths and grow more confident in whatever subject you’re working in.

In the past, I have done Skype meetings or phone calls. In-document comments are also provided so students can more easily remember the comments discussed. From there, any further questions can be discussed via email, phone call, or Skype. Tutors are willing to help and work to meet your schedule demands.

While college or grad school can seem demanding, you are not alone. Whatever class you’re concerned with, from math and chemistry to writing, support is available. The tutors are willing to work with your schedule to provide you with the best feedback possible. For more information about tutoring services, contact your Northwestern academic advisor.


Nicole Montgomery

Meet the Author

Nicole is an English Teaching major at Northwestern. She serves as the Blog Coordinator and writing tutor for the Graduate School and Adult Learning. As a writing tutor, she is already preparing for her career goals of teaching 8th, 9th, or 12 grade English.

Nicole also has a passion for social justice and young adult literature.

Posted on

While it can be a challenge to prepare to go back to school, registering for online courses at Northwestern College is a simple process. Graduate School students may register beginning on the first day registration opens for the on-campus students at Northwestern. The academic calendar also shows the dates for the upcoming terms.   

The first step is to log into your MyNorthwestern account and choose “Registration” under the “Academics” tab. In the middle of the page, click the hyperlink that says “Add/Drop Courses” and check that the correct session and year is listed in the Term dropdown box.

Graduate students will also want to ensure “Graduate Program” is listed in the Student Program and Program dropdown boxes. Make sure you agree to the terms of the Registration Agreement.  

Next, students can add the courses they want to register for by entering the appropriate course code. For example, enter EDU525-01 for section 01 of Advanced Child Development.

 If you have any questions, contact your academic advisor or the registrar’s office (


Austyn Nyhof

Meet the Author

Austin is the Associate Registrar for Northwestern College. He has the opportunity to work with both traditional on-campus students as well as online students.

Austin also understands the balance of continuing education while working full time. He is currently pursing his Masters of Business Administration online.

Posted on

People often tell me “I always wanted to get my degree, but that’s a long time in school.”  My response is always the same:  That time is going to pass you by anyway.  Would you rather be two years older, with the degree you always wanted, qualified for the kind of job you always wanted, or would you rather be two years older and still be saying “I always wanted to get my degree….”? 

Education has never been so accessible.  You no longer have to commute to school, take night classes, figure out daycare and try to rearrange your work schedule in order to earn your degree.  Many colleges offer online or hybrid programs that work with your schedule.  I’m not suggesting those programs are easy, but that they can fit into your life.  If you want to earn a degree you can, without disrupting your family or your job. 

Your career is absolutely something that is within your power to control.  Don’t let two years be the barrier that prevents you from work you will enjoy for the rest of your life.  Two years are going to pass you by anyway.  Invest them in yourself.


Rebecca Hoey

Meet the Author

Rebecca is the dean of Northwestern Graduate School and Adult Learning. She has published in Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration and presented in higher education conferences. Rebecca is teaching Ed Research this semester for the online Master of Education students.

As a wife; mother of four children, two dogs, and countless chickens, she speaks to the challenges and rewards of balancing family, work, school, and life.