Orange City, Iowa
At Northwestern College, standout academics and a firm Christian faith mean big opportunities to learn and grow. Students benefit from close relationships with supportive faculty mentors who are leading Christian scholars as well as with peers who become lifelong friends. Christianity Today named Northwestern as one of two “best of spiritual enrichment” colleges for 2019.
More than 80 academic programs lead to a bachelor’s degree, and a growing online program leads to seven options for a Master’s of Education. Northwestern is also developing master’s degree programs in physician assistant (PA) studies and athletic training, both of which are expected to start in May 2020. Highly ranked study abroad programs, extensive internship opportunities, and impactful research experiences with professors help expand students’ learning and prepare them for their careers. Faith is integrated into the whole Northwestern experience, so students are empowered to follow Christ and pursue God’s redeeming work in the world
Founded in 1882, Northwestern College is affiliated with the Reformed Church in America and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The business, education, nursing, and social work programs also have departmental accreditation.
Get to know Northwestern College
- Campus Ministries
- Choral groups
- Concert band
- International Student Organization
- Jazz band
- Literary magazine
- Music ensembles
- Musical theatre
- Pep band
- Student government
- Student newspaper
- Symphony orchestra
- First-Year Seminars and Experiences
- Writing-Intensive Courses
- Collaborative Assignments and Projects
- Undergraduate Research
- Diversity/Global Learning
- Service-Learning, Community-Based Learning
- Capstone Courses and Projects/Senior Experience
- Career Services
- Writing Center
- Academic Advisors
- Library Services
- Faculty Mentors
- Disability Services
- Multicultural Engagement Center
- Health Services
- Academic Tutors
- Financial Aid Advisors
- Peer Mentors
The Northwestern Core features 14 to 16 credits of courses that all NWC students take. These include a First-Year Seminar that provides an introduction to the Christian liberal arts; 8 credits of classes that focus on the Christian story and tradition; and other courses that cover such learning themes as belief and reason, cross-cultural engagement, historical perspectives, and self and society. A culminating senior-year seminar ensures that students are prepared to apply what they’ve learned—both in their major and in Northwestern Core classes—to their future career and life of service and social responsibility.
Northwestern students have the opportunity to study abroad for a semester in Australia, Belize, Oman, Spain, and 20 other countries. In addition, NWC faculty lead month-long summer study trips to such nations as the Czech Republic, Great Britain, Greece, Israel, and Italy. Northwestern has been ranked among the 50 American colleges and universities with the best study abroad programs by Best College Reviews.
Northwestern students have many opportunities to pursue research projects that lead to presentations at conferences and act as great preparatory work for graduate school. Many of these are even collaborative projects with professors. Through a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, first- and second-year biology students have the unique opportunity to conduct research on phages, which are viruses that infect bacteria. Outstanding student academic and creative work is displayed at Northwestern’s annual Celebration of Research.
Students in the Honors Program have the opportunity to take exclusive courses and participate in scholarly travel experiences and social activities with other top students. The curriculum connects content from multiple disciplines, team-taught by faculty from different departments. The program also adds honors components to major courses, offers a scholarship methods course, and enables students to conduct independent scholarship in their discipline. In addition, Honors Program members can study in Greece in the summer.
Service-learning opportunities enable Northwestern students to put what they’re learning into practice through serving God and others. Examples include public relations students preparing advertising materials for local businesses, social work majors surveying housing needs in Orange City, accounting students helping people file their taxes, kinesiology students developing personal health and fitness plans for women at a transitional housing facility, and English majors presenting book-talk presentations to high school freshmen.
“I’m grateful for Northwestern’s global mindset. I had several opportunities to travel for spring service, summer study abroad and theatre tour. I went across the country to Louisiana and across the ocean to England and Albania. What a joy to know that Northwestern’s mission to prepare students to do God’s redeeming work in the world is actually applied.” – Liz Meier ’18, language arts teacher, Valley Southwoods Freshman High School, West Des Moines, Iowa
Northwestern’s Spring Service Projects and Summer of Service program also enable students to put their faith into action and learn about life in different cultural settings, from New Orleans and Nicaragua to inner-city L.A. and a Minnesota reservation. About 200 students spend their spring break serving others, while another 20 aid mission partners around the world during the summer.
The exceptional volunteerism of Northwestern’s students is recognized by the college being consistently named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.
The number of sections of each class size.
2-9: 105 | 10-19: 112 | 20-29: 59
30-39: 22 | 40-49: 1 | 50-99: 3 | 100+: 0
ENROLLMENT BY ETHNICITY
Nonresident aliens: 3%
Black or African American, non-Hispanic: 2%
White, non-Hispanic: 83%
American Indian or Alaska Native, non-Hispanic: 0%
Asian, non-Hispanic: 1%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, non-Hispanic: 0%
Two or more races, non-Hispanic: 2%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown: 4%
SCHOLARS AND MENTORS
At Northwestern, students are led by committed Christians who have studied at top graduate schools and are leaders in their fields. 85% of full-time professors have earned the highest degree available from such institutions as Duke, Notre Dame, UCLA, Vanderbilt, and Yale. They have studied around the world, written books and plays, performed in Carnegie Hall, received grants, and conducted research on a wide variety of topics. Two—Jeff Barker in theatre and Piet Koene in Spanish—have been named Iowa Professor of the Year, and two have received Fulbright Scholarships to research and study abroad. All are at Northwestern because of their desire to integrate faith with learning as well as their love for inspiring and preparing students. In addition to leading in the classroom, they make time for students in their offices, during their lunch hours, and even at home.
“At Northwestern you get intimate access to faculty for mentoring and relationship opportunities that you won’t find elsewhere. Professors are always willing to talk with you. More intangible, however, is their commitment to excellent teaching. They have a passion for the material they teach that inspired me to really explore a number of fields. They also work tirelessly to integrate a faith perspective, which has proven invaluable to me.” – Joseph Tolsma ’17, Ph.D. student in genetics, North Carolina State University
Students are welcomed into the Northwestern family before classes even begin during orientation weekend. In addition to developing relationships with fellow students, they spend the weekend meeting with their faculty adviser and getting acquainted with their First-Year Seminar (FYS) classmates and professor. In FYS, all students read the same books and discuss the same issues. FYS introduces students to Northwestern’s Christian academic community, interdisciplinary thinking and connections, college-level writing and public speaking, and service-learning.
The small size of the FYS class encourages deep discussions and close friendships. The course involves extensive reading, writing, and speaking focused on three questions: Who am I? Who are my neighbors? and How will we live in the world? Wrestling with such questions equips students with the knowledge, skills, and character they’ll need to succeed at Northwestern and beyond. In course evaluations, students have said that FYS helped them connect quickly with other students and that they made some of their best new friends in the class.
OUTSTANDING LEARNING FACILITIES
More than $45 million has been spent on construction and renovation projects at Northwestern since 2003. Among those are the DeWitt Theatre Arts Center, which has been called the best college theatre facility in Iowa, and the Korver Visual Arts Center. The $14 million DeWitt Learning Commons, built in 2013, houses the college’s library and academic support center. This facility is the place to be for students, whether they are studying individually or with friends, enjoying a coffee with a professor, researching a paper, creating a video for class, taking a break with some leisurely reading, getting help for a test, or planning a group presentation.
The new $24.5 million DeWitt Family Science Center opened in the fall of 2018. The eco-friendly facility houses classrooms, laboratories, and faculty offices for the departments of biology, chemistry, and nursing. It also includes ample space for student and faculty research.
Northwestern students are engaged in strong academic programs during their time in college and they regularly record high scores on licensure and graduate school exams. 89.3% of Northwestern accounting graduates taking the CPA exam for the first time in 2017 passed, which was the nation’s second-best pass rate among all institutions with at least 10 candidates. Northwestern’s students scored in the top 25% worldwide on the MCAT exam in 2018. Northwestern is 1 of only 2 institutions in Iowa and 1 of just 39 baccalaureate colleges worldwide selected for SEA-PHAGES, which involves Northwestern science students engaging in a global effort to discover phages and sequence and annotate their DNA. With a standout actuarial science program, Northwestern is 1 of just 2 Christian colleges to meet Advanced Curriculum requirements set by the Society of Actuaries.
SPECIAL STUDY OPTIONS
Programs available at this institution.
English as a Second Language (ESL)
Liberal arts/career combination
Teacher certification program
“If you’re looking for authentic Christian community, I can guarantee that NWC is the place to be. For me and many others, Northwestern College is home.” – Caley Vink ‘19, political science major, Zeeland, Michigan
FEELS LIKE HOME
Northwestern is known to be a place where students experience belonging and togetherness. In fact, 90% of NWC freshmen say they feel like they’ve already found a home in their first semester of college. 85% of students live on campus, and many stay around on the weekends; the community is bustling with numerous student-planned events, opportunities to cheer on peers at games and performing arts events, and the spontaneous fun that happens when everyone’s looking for a study break. Student resident assistants and professional resident directors, each of whom are committed Christians, staff every wing and hall, so students are known, cared for, and challenged to be the best they can be. Unlike other colleges, where freshmen-only dorms are the norm, at Northwestern junior and senior leaders choose to stay in the residence halls to befriend and mentor underclassmen.
THE ARTS ON CAMPUS
Northwestern has a thriving fine arts scene, showcasing outstanding student theatrical and music productions and art exhibits. Guests such as the Boston Brass, men’s vocal ensemble Cantus, and renowned opera star Simon Estes also perform in Christ Chapel. And recently, award-winning authors William Kent Krueger and Chigozie Obioma have come to speak on campus.
CHAPEL AND CHRISTIAN FORMATION
Chapel services, held twice a week, bring the campus community together to learn about God, the world, and how to make a difference in it. Nationally known speakers—such as Wess Stafford, Hugh Halter, Jerry Sittser, and Sarah Thebarge—challenge students, as do area Christian leaders, faculty and staff, and other students. The student-led Sunday Night Praise & Worship service is a popular way to start a new week. In the dorms and apartments, nearly 500 students meet in small discipleship groups on a weekly basis to pray, study the Bible, and talk about how their faith integrates with what they’re learning.
Christian musicians, such as Crowder, Tenth Avenue North, Sidewalk Prophets, and Jeremy Camp, have performed concerts as part of the Student Activities Council’s schedule, joining other events like dances, Airband, Clash of the Classes, and giant beach volleyball. Other campus traditions include the RUSH student dance concert and Hospers Hall’s cardboard-and-duct tape battle. More than 50 clubs and organizations enable students to develop leadership skills and enjoy special interests with others just like them.
HEALTHY AND HAPPY
An extensive intramural program and a state-of-the-art fitness facility help students stay healthy and deepen friendships. Pick-up football games, disc golf contests, and gennis games (golf played with a tennis ball) dot the campus green on beautiful fall and spring days.
Ranked among the nation’s top 5 Christian college towns and named the happiest city in the state, Orange City, Iowa, is known for its unique, old-world European charm and small-town hospitality. Local residents are among Northwestern’s biggest supporters, eager to attend Red Raider games and music and theatre performances as well as to get to know students at area churches and businesses.
Orange City, Iowa, is only an hour away from Sioux City, Iowa, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It is also within an easy drive of Omaha, Nebraska; Des Moines, Iowa; Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota; and Kansas City, Missouri.
NAIA, Great Plains Athletic Conference
21 varsity sports
9 men’s: baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, tennis, track and field, wrestling
8 women’s: basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field, volleyball
4 co-ed: competitive cheer, competitive dance, bowling, esports
Nine team national championships, outstanding facilities, and great fan support. The Northwestern Red Raiders won the 2017–18 GPAC all-sports trophy. Students also participate in an active intramural program and rugby club.
Percent of students living on campus.
First-time, first-year (freshman) students: 98%
Campus housing options.
Apartments for married students
Apartments for single students
Special housing for disabled students
Internships help to strengthen students’ résumés, expand their professional network, and often even lead to their first job. Northwestern students intern near campus, in their hometown, and across the country through programs in cities like Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC. Northwestern’s elite Carlson Internships have placed students in Chicago; Detroit; Haiti; Sioux Falls, SD; Southern California; and around the country throughout the summer intersession.
PEER LEARNING CENTER
75% of students regularly use Northwestern’s Peer Learning Center. Located in the DeWitt Learning Commons, the center offers numerous free services for students, including peer tutors, study sessions, writing help and workshops, and study skills tips and training.
“At Northwestern I gained the knowledge I needed to be successful in medical school. I also grew as a person and learned more about my personal values, enabling me to decide not only what I wanted to do for a career, but also what kind of person I want to be and how I want to live my life.” – Emma Wynja ’15, medical student, University of South Dakota
98% of Northwestern’s 2018 alumni were employed or in graduate school within six months of graduation thanks to the preparation provided by excellent academic programs, hands-on internships, and the personal attention of counselors in the Compass Center for Career and Calling. Recent graduates are working for Blank Park Zoo, Ernst & Young, John Deere Financial, Sanford Health, the U.S. Department of State, and West Des Moines Community Schools, while others are pursuing graduate studies at institutions like Princeton Theological Seminary, the University of Chicago and the University of Minnesota.
Among recent graduates, Felipe Silva from the class of 2012 received the 2017 Young Alumni Award from the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities for his work developing and leading a climbing gym for youth in a depressed area of Romania. 2013 alumna Keely Wright-Ogren won the 2017 Robert Cohen Sound Achievement Award from the United States Institute of Theatre Technology. Isaiah Twitty from the class of 2014 was named one of the 2018 Future African-American Leaders in Radio by RadioInk.com. Northwestern alumni educators consistently win teaching awards, including 2014 graduate Krissa Hetletvedt, who was named Rookie of the Year by the Omaha Education Association. And 2009 alumna Becky Hille received the 2015 Nurse of the Year Award from the National PACE Association.
Read about more of Northwestern College’s standout graduates.
SAT Critical Reading
25th Percentile: 540 | 75th Percentile: 620
25th Percentile: 530 | 75th Percentile: 640
25th Percentile: 21 | 75th Percentile: 27
25th Percentile: 20 | 75th Percentile: 27
25th Percentile: 20 | 75th Percentile: 27
Tuition & Cost
Room & Board: $9,600
What Others are Saying
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