Northwestern College looks to strike a balance between religion and knowledge in its students. Located on 100 acres in Orange City, Iowa, the college has received recognition for both, with awards for both academics (4th ranked Midwest baccalaureate college by US News and World Report) and service (President’s Honor Roll for service efforts two years running). Working to instill both “faith and learning” in its students (it is backed by the Reformed Church in America), Northwestern College has been teaching a liberal arts based religious education since 1882.
Originally designed to put students on the path to ministry, Northwestern today offers 40 majors and another 16 pre-professional programs in a variety of disciplines. With roughly 1200 undergraduate students seeking Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degrees, Northwestern offers a variety of studies from Elementary Education to Nursing, with Religious Studies available as well. Music is also very popular at Northwestern, with almost a dozen different choir and band/orchestra options for students though the campus.
Faculty are over 75% terminally degreed and the school offers a 14:1 faculty student ratio, ensuring personal care in each individual education and giving the school a 64% graduation rate (for students who attend five years). Teachers work both in service and in the classroom with students, alongside them teaching them not only book smarts, but how to serve the nearby community and locations both in and out of the country.
Though having no real distance learning, Northwestern College does offer links to colleges who do. From the nearby option of the University of Illinois to the many out of state choices like the University of Georgia, Northwestern College allows its traditional students to take online courses for credit (after applying with the Registrar’s Office). There are a total of 20 different distance learning links, all with entirely transferrable credit (though the college doesn’t use the grades from the other school). There are also extensive online library and advisement services, as well as an online alumni magazine.
However, those looking to learn at a distance from the college can participate in Spring or Summer Service projects, missionary trips meant to utilize skills taught at the school and to give opportunities for service. Summer trips are always out of the country, taking the time afforded to spend at least six weeks “cross-culturally” serving anywhere from Nicaragua to India. Meanwhile, spring trips have only the ten day spring break and need closer locations like New Orleans, although trips to locations like Amsterdam and beyond to work building houses or minister in diverse locations is possible. Semester long study abroad projects also exist in Oman and Romania.
Priding itself as a “Christian academic community” inspiring students to work in the world to better it, Northwestern offers its students an education that “doesn’t stop when class is dismissed”. Graduates from the college receive more than a Bachelor degree, receiving preparation not only for a “successful career”, but also for “leading a faithful life”.