North­west­ern College (IA)

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Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
Carnegie Classification
Baccalaureate Colleges: Diverse Fields
Religious Affiliation
Reformed Church in America

A small, Christian liberal arts college in Orange City, IA, Northwestern College (not to be confused with Northwestern University in Evanston, IL) is affiliated with the Reformed Church in America, a Calvinist denomination descended from the Dutch Reformed Church. Originally founded as an academy for Reformed Church students to prepare for college and ministry, Northwestern grew to a junior college, then a four-year teacher’s college, before finally reaching full university status. Today NC offers some graduate programs, and has been honored as one of the top regional institutions in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report and the Princeton Review.

Academic Programs

Northwestern College is primarily a teaching institution (as opposed to a research institution), and student support, academic rigor, and educational excellence are their primary concerns. Northwestern is deeply committed to the values of Christian higher education and traditional liberal arts, emphasizing critical analysis, problem-solving, communication, and leadership. Northwestern’s #1 mission is to send thoughtful, compassionate Christian leaders into their professions and careers, and around 96% of Northwestern’s graduates are employed within 6 months of graduation.

The liberal arts curriculum at Northwestern College is the foundation for a variety of majors and pre-professional programs, from pre-med and dentistry to music, art, physical, and occupational therapy. Northwestern also offers a number of interdisciplinary programs, including Christian Community Development, which draw on knowledge and skills from a variety of fields. Graduate and adult education programs are also on the rise, including education master’s degrees and an RN to BSN degree program

Student Life

While rural Iowa is not necessarily a cultural melting pot, Northwestern College has made concerted efforts to attract a more diverse student and faculty body, with around 10% of students coming from minority groups. With around 1200 students, most from a Christian background, religious instruction and practice are important parts of Northwestern’s identity, from frequent chapel services, student-led worship and bible study, and prayer. Students are not required to belong to a Christian denomination, but those who are looking for a Christian environment will find it at Northwestern.

A large part of Northwestern’s Christian values is community service, which is also a significant element in student life. The Summer of Service program is highly popular, sending students on mission work in many foreign countries, while local and regional outreach is embedded in Northwestern’s fabric. Northwestern has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for their efforts, and been recognized nationally by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption for their service work with adoption.

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