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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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

“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

“Northwestern provides an incredible education that puts students well on their way to achieving their goals.”

Erica Hulsing Erica Hulsing ’21 Sport management and accounting major from Grinnell, Iowa

Erica'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

“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

“At Northwestern I’ve gained relationships that will last a lifetime. It took less than a couple of hours on campus for me to meet someone who is now one of my best friends. And from there I found countless other friends who I know will be there for me at any time in my life.”

Chris Ten Pas Chris Ten Pas ’21 Criminal justice major from Oostburg, Wisconsin

Chris'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

“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

“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 chose Northwestern because of the people and relationships.”

Hannah Paauw Hannah Paauw ’21 Psychology and biology-health professions major from Brandon, South Dakota

Hannah's story

“I’ve grown as a person in every way at Northwestern—academically, emotionally and spiritually. I’ve learned so much about myself, others and the world around me. Northwestern is a beautiful, fun and safe place that truly changes students’ lives if they let it.”

Samantha Olson Samantha Olson ’22 Biology-health professions major from Sioux Center, Iowa

Samantha'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’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

“Math prepares anyone for the fast-paced work environment of any 21st century job because learning the skills for solving complex mathematical problems teaches you how to solve nearly any other problem.”

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 feel very well prepared for my future because I have had a lot of success in my internships. Last summer I interned for Foster Group and was able to adjust very fast even though I had never had a job in the finance industry. Learning in the classroom was a great starting point.”

Devin Vander Werff Devin Vander Werff ’20 Business administration/finance major from Urbandale, Iowa

Devin's story

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