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Northwestern College

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Northwestern College Overview

Northwestern College is a private not-for-profit institution situated in Orange City, Iowa. The location of NWC is a good match for students who are interested in living in a college town while they pursue their degree.

What Is Northwestern College Known For?

283 Undergraduate Awards
$26,706 Avg Cost After Aid
74% Acceptance Rate
  • Students at NWC have an easier time paying back their loans. The school's student loan default rate is only 2%, compared to the national rate of 10.1%.
  • The highest award offered at NWC is the master's degree.
  • In 2019-2020, 100% of the faculty were full-time.
  • Students who graduate from NWC with a bachelor's degree make about $44,904 a year. That's 10% more than those who graduate from other schools.
  • The average NWC student graduates in 4.1 years. That's better than the national average of 4.4 years.

Best Schools

Northwestern College Rankings

NWC landed the #89 spot in our 2023 ranking of best colleges. We analyzed 2,018 colleges and universities across the nation to determine this ranking. This puts it in the top 5% of all schools in the nation. Out of the 36 colleges in Iowa, it is ranked at #1.

Our rankings are based on an outcomes-based approach rather than subjective ones used by other media outlets. As such, we utilize data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and the College Scorecard, among other sources. Visit our rankings and methodology section to learn more.

NWC has also been awarded the following overall awards by our latest rankings.

Rank Ranking Name Share
#47 Best Graduate Certificate Schools Tweet It - Post It
#112 Best Bachelor’s Degree Schools Tweet It - Post It

Program Level Awards

These are highlights of some of the most noteworthy awards granted to specific programs at NWC.

Rank Ranking Name Share
#3 Best Value Educational Administration Master’s Degree Schools Tweet It - Post It
#3 Best Value Special Education Master’s Degree Schools Tweet It - Post It
#4 Best Value Education Master’s Degree Schools Tweet It - Post It
#5 Best Teacher Education Grade Specific Bachelor’s Degree Schools Tweet It - Post It
#6 Best Education Bachelor’s Degree Schools Tweet It - Post It
#17 Best Educational Administration Master’s Degree Schools Tweet It - Post It
#23 Best Special Education Master’s Degree Schools Tweet It - Post It
#30 Best Health & Physical Education Bachelor’s Degree Schools Tweet It - Post It
#32 Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure & Fitness Bachelor’s Degree Schools Tweet It - Post It
#64 Best Teacher Education Subject Specific Bachelor’s Degree Schools Tweet It - Post It

Awards From Around the Web

The following table lists some notable awards NWC has earned from around the web.

Rank Ranking Name Source
#5 Best Value Graduate Degree Colleges for Education College Factual
#22 Best Teaching Schools Teaching Degree Search
#54 Best Secondary Education Schools College Factual
#73 Best Early Childhood Education Schools College Factual
#95 Best Elementary Education Schools College Factual
#117 Best Teacher Education Grade Specific Schools College Factual

Where Is Northwestern College?


Contact details for NWC are given below.

Contact Details
Address: 101 Seventh St Sw, Orange City, IA 51041
Phone: 712-707-7000

How Do I Get Into NWC?

You can apply to NWC online at:

Admission Requirements for NWC

Submission Required?
High School GPA recommended
High School Rank recommended
High School Transcript required
College Prep Program recommended
Recommendations recommended
SAT or ACT Scores required
TOEFL required

How Hard Is It To Get Into NWC?

74% Acceptance Rate
40% Of Accepted Are Women
11% Submit SAT Scores
The acceptance rate at Northwestern College is 74%. This means that is not quite as selective as some schools, but you'll still need to submit a good application if you want to be considered by the admissions department.

Approximately 60% of accepted students are men and 40% are women. The acceptance rate for men is 68%, and the acceptance rate for women is 84%.

Average Test Scores

About 11% of students accepted to NWC submitted their SAT scores. When looking at the 25th through the 75th percentile, SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing scores ranged between 490 and 580. Math scores were between 520 and 630.

SAT Reading and Writing Scores for Northwestern College  ( 490 to 580 )

SAT Math Scores for Northwestern College  ( 520 to 630 )
NWC received ACT scores from 91% of accepted students. When looking at the 25th through the 75th percentile, ACT English scores ranged between 18 and 26. Math scores were between 18 and 26. Composite scores were between 20 and 26.

ACT English Scores for Northwestern College  ( 18 to 26 )
ACT Math Scores for Northwestern College  ( 18 to 26 )
ACT Composite Scores for Northwestern College  ( 20 to 26 )

Can I Afford Northwestern College?

$26,706 Net Price
65% Take Out Loans
1.8% Loan Default Rate
The overall average net price of NWC is $26,706. The affordability of the school largely depends on your financial need since net price varies by income group.

The net price is calculated by adding tuition, room, board and other costs and subtracting financial aid.

Student Loan Debt

Almost 66% of college students who graduated with the class of 2018 took out student loans, but that percentage varies from school to school. At NWC, approximately 65% of students took out student loans averaging $8,173 a year. That adds up to $32,692 over four years for those students.

The student loan default rate at NWC is 1.8%. This is significantly lower than the national default rate of 10.1%, which is a good sign that you'll be able to pay back your student loans.

Northwestern College Undergraduate Student Diversity

974 Full-Time Undergraduates
49% Women
10% Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
There are 1,069 undergraduate students at NWC, with 974 being full-time and 95 being part-time.


There are also 427 graduate students at the school.

Gender Diversity

Of the 974 full-time undergraduates at NWC, 51% are male and 49% are female.


Racial-Ethnic Diversity

The racial-ethnic breakdown of Northwestern College students is as follows.

Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 12
Black or African American 14
Hispanic or Latino 49
White 820
International Students 29
Other Races/Ethnicities 50

Geographic Diversity

Iowa students aren't the only ones who study at Northwestern College. At this time, 23 states are represented by the student population at the school.

Over 28 countries are represented at NWC. The most popular countries sending students to the school are United Kingdom, Brazil, and Nepal.

Online Learning at Northwestern College

470 Took All Classes Online
688 Took At Least One Class Online
28.7% Avg Growth Over 4 Years
In 2019-2020, 688 students took at least one online class at the school.

The following chart shows how the online learning population at NWC has changed over the last few years.


This school is the 11th most popular in Iowa for online learning according to the online graduations recorded by the Department of Education for the academic year 2019-2020.

Online Growth Rankings of NWC

The average growth rate over the last four years of online students at Northwestern College was 28.7%. This is the #898 largest growth rate of all schools that are only partially online. This refers to all students at NWC regardless of major.

The following table shows the 1-year growth rate of NWC majors that offer at least one online course. This table only includes majors with positive growth.

Major 1-Year Growth Rate
Education 16%
Educational Administration 14%
Teacher Education Grade Specific 16%

The table below shows how the average growth rate over 4 years at NWC ranks compared to all other partially online schools that offer a specific major. Note that the majors may or may not be offered online at NWC.

Major Growth Rate Rank
Special Education #154
Educational Administration #191
Teacher Education Grade Specific #220
Nursing #363

When we speak of partially online, we are referring to schools whose online population is less than 50% of its total student body. Mostly online refers to those with online populations greater than or equal to 50%.

Northwestern College Undergraduate Concentrations

The table below shows the number of awards for each concentration.

Major Bachelor’s Graduate Certificate Master’s TOTAL
Teacher Education Grade Specific 66 0 30 96
Educational Administration 0 3 63 66
Business Administration & Management 39 0 0 39
Nursing 28 0 0 28
General Biology 14 0 0 14
Accounting 13 0 0 13
General Psychology 12 0 0 12
Teacher Education Subject Specific 11 0 0 11
Health & Physical Education 10 0 0 10
Public Relations & Advertising 9 0 0 9
Special Education 0 0 9 9
Social Work 9 0 0 9
History 7 0 0 7
Religious Studies 6 0 0 6
Computer Science 5 0 0 5
Writing Studies 5 0 0 5
Allied Health Professions 5 0 0 5
Criminal Justice & Corrections 5 0 0 5
Music 5 0 0 5
Mathematics 4 0 0 4
Drama & Theater Arts 4 0 0 4
Chemistry 3 0 0 3
Religious Education 3 0 0 3
Design & Applied Arts 3 0 0 3
Ecology, Evolution & Systematics Biology 2 0 0 2
Management Sciences & Quantitative Methods 2 0 0 2
Romance Languages 2 0 0 2
Economics 2 0 0 2
Political Science & Government 2 0 0 2
Other Visual Art 2 0 0 2
Genetics 1 0 0 1
General English Literature 1 0 0 1
Clinical/Medical Laboratory Science 1 0 0 1
Philosophy 1 0 0 1
Fine & Studio Arts 1 0 0 1
Biochemistry, Biophysics & Molecular Biology 0 0 0 0
Linguistics & Comparative Literature 0 0 0 0
Rehabilitation & Therapeutic Professions 0 0 0 0
Liberal Arts General Studies 0 0 0 0
Statistics 0 0 0 0
Sociology 0 0 0 0
TOTAL 283 3 102 388


*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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