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6 Reasons Students Thrive at Northwestern Polytechnic

Students can connect, grow & excel at Alberta’s newest polytechnic.

It’s been just over 1 year since the 57-year-old learning institution evolved from GPRC into NWP. And, they're picking up steam.

Carla Dodd, Dean of School of Students & Megan Slifka, NWP Registrar

To date, Northwestern Polytechnic (NWP) has launched new local degrees and in-demand programming, partnered with Grande Prairie Regional Hospital and local industry sectors, announced the Centre for Entrepreneurial Excellence, and so much more.

“Introducing fresh programming in new locations is exciting. It’s a great opportunity for our students,” said Megan Slifka, NWP Registrar. “We’re seeing new students on campus, and we’re looking forward to growing and supporting those with different backgrounds and educational goals for years to come.”

With a sharp new look and savvy plans for the future, NWP exudes energy and excitement as they support their students with entrepreneurial approaches to programming.

Here are 6 reasons why students thrive at NWP:

1. Excellent Guidance

NWP offers timely academic advice and support to all students, in all studies.

Students are encouraged to meet with academic advisors to navigate their educational goals, and they can bring family members or peers to assist in the decision-making process.

“We help our students explore all of their options and try to meet every student exactly where they are at,” said Slifka.

Students are supported every step of the way, even if they decide to adapt or change their path to success. NWP’s faculty are experts in their field and are happy to meet with students to offer fresh perspectives and specialized guidance.

2. Helpful Mental Health Support

NWP provides support for mental health. A mental health team is always available to counsel students when they need it. NWP also hosts events like “Be Kind to Your Mind,” which includes peer interaction.

“Whether it’s through our six-week, small group Ways of Wellness program, different classroom presentations or one-on-one counselling, we have a great support team in place,” said Carla Dodd, Dean of School of Students. “We also have an app that students can access 24/7 for wellness tools and in the moment assistance.”

3. Exceptional Environment

NWP students have access to welcoming and well-designed residences, common learning areas, fitness centres and wellness areas.

“Students can move through our spaces independently, but there is always an additional helping hand if they need it, such as a tutor, library tech, fitness program or coach and wellness advisors,” said Slifka.

NWP offers students various kinds of housing at its campuses in Grande Prairie and Fairview, so students can feel at home during their studies.

With 100 housing units in Grande Prairie and accommodations for 255 students in Fairview, there is plenty of space for students to live and learn on campus.

“Our Fairview campus is quite unique. It has townhouse, apartment and dorm accommodations,” said Dodd. “Throughout the academic year, we can have up to 500 students flow through our programming, so it is great to be able to offer convenient and comfortable spaces with a community feel.”

4. Accessible Financial Support

In the past year, NWP has granted over $585,000 to students in the form of bursaries, scholarships and awards. These donations were made possible by continuous involvement from community members and other donors who see the value in supporting students in their studies.

To accommodate diverse student needs, NWP has a variety of financial assistance options ranging from full year, semestrial or specific course funding.

“We recognize financial stress is hard on students, so our ultimate goal is to have students complete their program and go out into the workforce without carrying huge debt,” said Slifka.

5. Great Community Connections

There is a strong focus on accessibility, friendship building and networking at NWP. With strong community ties and involvement, students can start creating valuable networks from the moment they step on campus.

“From mini golf, dog sledding and glow tubing to cross-country skiing, volleyball leagues and holiday events, we have plenty of opportunities for students to interact with others on campus,” said Dodd.

NWP’s partnership with the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre also helps connect the student body. Our Indigenous Services and On-Campus Friendship Centre offer many activities such as beading, making deer hide mittens and traditional drumming. They also host welcome and year-end celebrations.

“The Friendship Centre is a warm and inviting space that is welcoming to all students,” said Dodd. “It’s a great starting point for anyone looking to get involved in their campus community.”

NWP also hosts business conferences and career fairs, and local industry sector representatives attend. These events provide students with the opportunity to make connections to professionals in their field of study, which can make them feel more comfortable entering the workforce after they graduate.

“We have an amazing community that consistently shows up for us, which we greatly appreciate. It makes networking for our students easy and accessible,” said Slifka.

6. Thoughtful Career Services

Work-integrated learning is embedded in the culture, and NWP’s Career Services is there to help students and graduates gain meaningful employment.

Responding to industry and community demands for specific training, students are taught how to move into the current job market.

The Career Services team facilitates job placement in a student’s local community and provides opportunities for individuals to study in places they may potentially work at one day.

NWP’s goal is to produce graduates who succeed in their community, so students receive assistance with building their resumes, practicing their interview skills and preparing for their careers.

“Our students have the chance to work in a real-life setting and experience their chosen careers firsthand before graduating,” said Slifka. “By collaborating with local businesses, we are able to provide students with a look into their future, which makes them more motivated and excited in their studies.”

With accommodating facilities, highly qualified faculty, and responsive programming, NWP is a top choice for anyone wanting to enrol in post-secondary education.

“Our staff and faculty are innovative and responsive. We take great pride in providing an exceptional student experience, and we look forward to empowering students with the confidence to turn risk into opportunity,” said Dodd.


What is a polytechnic?

Alberta’s polytechnics provide career and technical programming. NWP offers certificates, diplomas, degrees, apprenticeships as well as academic upgrading and continuing education programs.

Learn more about what NWP has to offer at


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