Each year for the past five years I’ve posted a group to support parents of incoming knobs at The Citadel. It is now time to announce the group for parents of the Class of 2021, The Citadel: Parents of the Class of 2021
Please note the parent groups by class are for the parents/guardians of the incoming cadet recruit (they aren’t cadets until Parents Weekend). While I understand there are family members who are very proud, the groups are limited to the parents only. Family members can follow the school via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat(TheCitadel1842), YouTube, Instagram, and Periscope.
The Citadel Family Association and the Parents page on the school web site are both great resources. Their web sites are accessible to anyone. The page for Freshman Parents features a series of helpful pages linked on the left hand side of the page (when accessed via computer). I highly recommend parents and their high school senior read through the Important Conversation page and watch the video there.
In the weeks and months to come I’ll post additional information and links geared towards new families. Be sure to send me an email or private message via Facebook after you request to join the group for 2021 parents. I verify each request to join the group to make sure only parents and guardians are accepted. Receiving an email makes the approval process go quicker. My email address is: Dorie at dorielgriggs dot com
Once a parent is accepted to the group they are asked to read and acknowledge the post pinned to the top of the page which outlines the basic ground rules for membership in the group.
A note about social media and cadets: It is best to tighten up the security of all social media platforms. Knobs should keep a low profile until their Recognition Day, the day the 4th Class system ends and they become full members of the Corps of Cadets. In addition to security settings an incoming knob should not use any Citadel related hashtags nor should they post photos wearing Citadel apparel.
NOTE: The Citadel staff is reviewing the required and Nice to Have Lists for the Class of 2021. This entry will be updated once the new lists are available.
Knobs line up in 3rd battalion to get their PT clothes. On Matriculation Day.
Each year in late May or early June the school posts their Matriculation Headquarters page. The incoming knob should read everything on this page, click every link and read everything on the linked pages. Knobs will soon learn that they, not their parents, are expected to know what is contained in these pages. Incoming knobs should check the page at least once a week for updates.
There are assignments due throughout the summer. The Office of the Commandant will update their Matriculation Information page soon too. (NOTE: As of this writing, 6/12/2016, the information is still from last academic year.)
The required list of items for knobs can be found on pages 6-7 of the Success Packet. Please note that cadets must be in uniform when in the area around the school. The knobs will learn the rules once they arrive. Knobs do not need any civilian clothes. You may bring comfortable clothes for them to wear in the hotel room when they are there. The first day they are given physical training clothes and their bathrobes along with a few other items.
I have copied the list for 2020 knobs below in Bold and added tips next to the official items. In general knobs are very hard on their clothes. A few tips you’ll hear from everyone is to get cheap sheets, but good socks. And break in the shoes before you arrive.
All cadets are required to furnish their own bed linen except for the bedspread and one blanket , which will be issued. Beds and mattresses are provided, but pillows are not.
One plastic mattress cover will be issued at cost to each cadet.
All cadets (male and female) must bring the following:
One  pair of conservative style pajamas (optional) – Personal preference. many cadets sleep in their PT shorts and shirt.
Twelve  white, cotton, crew-neck tee shirts – Purchase snug fitting t-shirts. Many families send along double the amount of t-shirts. In the first few weeks when laundry is slow and they are exercising in the hot Charleston weather having extra means they will have a fresh change of clothes available.
Twelve  pairs of white cotton underwear – briefs, or boxer briefs (male) – White boxer briefs or briefs are available at Walmart, Target and other stores. 6 will be folded for their inspection drawer and never worn. Bring extra.
Twelve  pairs of white cotton panties (female) – NO thongs This is very straight forward. Wicking fabric is best since they do a lot of physical training throughout the year.
One  pair of “longjohns” They wear this under their itchy wool uniforms later in the fall. Some don’t wear them at all.
Twelve  pairs of black crew length socks – cotton socks are recommended. [Experience has proven that socks made of synthetic material contribute to blistering and in some cases secondary infections.] Gold Toe makes a good think black crew length sock. Families have had luck finding cheaper thick black work socks at Wal-Mart.
Twelve  pairs of plain white cotton athletic ankle socks (Socks must be void of visible logos or color, and must cover the protruding ankle bone. Low cut quarter socks are permitted.) While they say cotton you can find socks made out of wicking fabric that will help cut down on blisters. For the first time in years ankle length socks are required, not crew length. Good, thick socks, are a good idea. (NOTE: They will need socks to wear with their boots and ACU uniform. If you bought crew length socks the cadets can wear them with their boots or send along a few pair of boot socks.)
One  bathing suit, solid black or navy blue (female: conservative one piece) They don’t wear them often but it is good to bring a swim suit. Lands End, Kohl’s, Target and others carry them for men. Women’s suits can be found in the competitive swim suit stores/brands
One  pair of shower shoes (black)
Six  white, cotton towels – Buy inexpensive towels at Wal-Mart or Target
Six  washcloths – Buy inexpensive towels at Wal-Mart or Target
One  standard sized pillow – Send along their favorite pillow
Four  white pillow cases –
Four  white, non-fitted sheets for a single bed – Regular twin size flat sheets. Wal-Mart has them. Do not send expensive sheets. They make their beds for inspection and sleep on top of the made bed. Some sheets end up as banners.
Twelve  white handkerchiefs – Plain white washable handkerchiefs can be found at Wal-Mart and Target
Toilet articles – They do not need a shower caddy. They should bring their own soap, shampoo, shaving needs.
One  pair of good running shoes in a subdued color such as white, navy, or black (may have contrasting trim) Bring shoes that fit the best in subdued colors. Some cadets bring two pair of running shoes and use them for all activities.
Three  pairs of black bike shorts (cotton spandex) for optional wear with physical training uniform – Compression/bike shorts without design or logos on the legs
One  pair of military style boots, sand colored with deep lug soles – boots must be sand colored with a plain toe. Boots made of patent leather or poromeric material are not authorized. Also, boots containing Marine Corps emblems are not authorized. The Cadet Store at The Citadel sells Bates brand boots, but large sizes may not be readily available. In addition to the Bates boots, some find the Nike and others brand fit well. They must be sand colored.
One  clear plastic storage container for under the bed. It must be sized 32″L x 11″H x 18″W. Note: Do not search for a container meeting these precise specifications. Instead, look for something smaller than 32″ x 11″ x 18″. The underbed box must be 32″ or shorter to fit under the bunk. Two must fit so do get something smaller than the sizes listed. A solid subdued colored lid is fine. Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s, The Container Store Bed Bath and Beyond all carry containers.
One  overnight bag (or another clear plastic storage container) for additional items that will be kept on top of the full press is authorized. This bag or container 24″L x 12″H x 18″W. Most knobs bring the second clear bin. the 66 quart size usually meets the criteria. Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s, The Container Store Bed Bath and Beyond all carry containers.
Two  pairs of military style, plain toe, smooth leather, black oxford shoes with rubber heels. You will not be permitted to wear shoes that fail to meet these criteria. Shoes made of patent leather or poromeric material are not authorized.
The school prefers that knobs wear the Bates plain toe black oxford made of polishable leather. Thorogood also makes a plain toe oxford. Some cadets like the Florsheim Lexington style plain tow black oxford. The Bostonian Kinnon style IS NOT approved because it has stitching on the heal. ***See the last few pages of the Success packet for expanded descriptions of the shoes and boots.***
Please ensure shoes and boots are “broken in” prior to arrival to avoid foot problems. Boots and shoes are available at The Citadel Cadet Store. Summer store hours are Monday-Wednesday 0700 to 1700 and Thursday 0700 to 1630. Call (843) 953-5166 to check on item availability. Boots and shoes must meet specifications. See the Cadet Store letter for details.
Additional items for female cadets:
Five  white, beige, or skin-colored regular bras
Five  white or beige sports bras
Labeling clothes: As a time saving measure, though not mandatory, it would be helpful to write your last name and first two initials in your clothing using a permanent marker. The location of the name should be inconspicuous when the garment is worn (e.g., bottom of each sock, rear waistband of underwear, and the front shirt tail of t-shirts). Household linens such as towels, sheets, and pillow cases should not be labeled. The Cadet Laundry will affix a permanent label to these items.
The following items may be brought with the new cadet or obtained later:
One  desk reading lamp
One  picture with frame – no larger than 8”x 10” Most knobs wait until after parents Weekend to bring a Frame
One  radio/stereo/CD player – Speakers must be no larger 12″x24″. It’s a good idea to wait until Parents Weekend to send speakers
One  oscillating fan – Box or floor fans on a stand are not authorized.
Computer and printer – See the Computer Recommendationspage for more information. Some cadets prefer to print off papers in the computer labs or the library. Ask your son or daughter what they would like to do.
Alarm clock – They will not have their phones the first week. an Alarm clock would be helpful.
The Citadel does not furnish bedding. Cadets shipping their belongings to the college must bring with them two sheets, one pillowcase, and pillow for use until they can access their belongings.
LUGGAGE Trunks and suitcases can not be stored in cadet rooms. Only one overnight bag for overnight travel may be kept in the room. All other luggage is stored at the central warehouse at the risk of the cadet. Luggage may be shipped to The Citadel in advance of your reporting date. It should be clearly marked with the cadet’s name and addressed to Central Supply, The Citadel, 171 Moultrie Street, Charleston, SC, 29409.
The Citadel Family Association “Nice to Have List.” NOTE: Your son or daughter does not need everything on this list. I’ve made a few notes after some items. Check with your son or daughter and ask them if they want to bring these items.
CLASS ROOM SUPPLIES:
SURGE SUPPRESSOR/POWER STRIP WITH 3 OR MORE OUTLETS (for computer)
PENCILS, PENS, STAPLER, STAPLES, PAPER CLIPS
COPY PAPER FOR PRINTER
EXTRA PRINTER INK
PERMANENT BLACK MARKERS (used to label things that will be required)
DISPOSABLE SHEETS OR ONE (1) CAN OF PLEDGE OR ENDUST
DISPOSABLE SHEETS OR ONE (1) CAN WINDEX OR GLASS CLEANER.
DISPOSABLE SHEETS OR (1) CAN LYSOL
FEBREZE FABRIC DEODORANT –Used a Lot knob year.
SPRAY STARCH (1 CAN)
TIDE PEN & BLEACH PEN
IRON (Yes, we are serious!) – No need to get an expensive iron just one that will stand up in the barracks.
IRONING BOARD (TRAVEL SIZE) – While the cadets often prefer full size many companies do not allow knobs to have a full size ironing board.
TRAVEL SEWING KIT – Send along a spool of white and black thread. They will sew on buttons.
“”T”” PINS & ASSORTED SAFETY PINS – Used to secure the sheets on their bunks. T-pins can be found online or in the sewing notions section of craft stores, Target and Wal-Mart.
EXTRA UNDERWEAR, T-SHIRTS, WHITE & BLACK COTTON SOCKS – As noted on the Success Packet list
ADDRESS BOOK WITH ADDRESSES – Just make sure they have the important addresses for family and friends in their phone or computer.
FIRST AID SUPPLIES: BAND-AIDS, FIRST AID CREAM OR SPRAY
TYLENOL, MOTRIN, TUMS, ETC., FOR MINOR MEDICAL NEEDS – I would add, send long their preferred over the counter cold nad alergy medicines.
MOLESKIN BLISTER TREATMENT PADS
BUG & GNAT SPRAY (skin so soft) – Very important
EXTRA CAN OF BRASSO (School will provide small can)
TWO (2) LARGE CANS OF BLACK SHOE POLISH (KIWI)
LINCOLN SHOE POLISH (BLACK)
HEEL n SOLE EDGE DRESSING FOR SHOES
JEWELER’S CLOTH (Sonshine brand works well)
SANDPAPER 2000, 1800, 1500 GRIT (Can be found in automotive section of store)
CLOTHS & RAGS FOR POLISHING BRASS AND SHOES: 100% COTTON
OLD TOOTHBRUSHES: TO BE USED FOR CLEANING
LARGE PLASTIC DRINKING CUPS
GATORADE POWDER (CAN) OR OTHER DRINK MIX
POWER BARS, CRACKERS, SMALL SNACK ITEMS – Some suggest that families mail them a care package their first week and not bring food on Matriculation Day
FLASHLIGHT, SMALL WITH EXTRA BATTERIES – Many do not ever use the flashlight
MASKING TAPE; 1 ROLL 3/4″
Note: These items are not required, and most are available on campus at The Citadel. However, it is highly encouraged that these items be purchased prior to arrival. Freshmen/Knobs will be able to replenish these items when necessary as the semester progresses. Do not send an item unless it is found on this list or the official list received from The Citadel.
**One item not listed but that many cadets find helpful are shirts stays. They are elastic that attaches to the bottom of shirts and to the top of their socks to keep their shirts tucked and their socks up. There are several brands available.**
In just a few more days the Class of 2019 will report to The Citadel for Matriculation Day. The nerves of the future knobs are probably running pretty high right now. If you notice your son or daughter withdrawing a bit, and being a little more quiet than normal don’t worry. Just like athletes who withdraw to get mentally ready for the big game, future knobs begin their own pre-game ritual. Parents begin to feel a bit nervous too. Allow yourself to feel these feelings Sending a child off to college is a big transition. Sending them to a military college is even tougher.
It is important that the future knob take ownership in getting everything together before Matriculation Day. Once their families say good-bye Saturday morning it is the knob who must navigate the 4th Class system while family and friends move to a support role.
Before reporting in make sure you’ve packed everything on the Success packet list, on page 6 and 7, and what they want to bring from the Citadel Family Association’s Nice to have List. Each year someone forgets their wallet and ID (Driver’s license). Be sure to add that to your packing check list. Be sure to pack in containers so that one person can easily carry each of them. Some families use disposable boxes and bags in addition to the 2 plastic bins so the knob will not have to go to the storage warehouse.
Each family makes their own plans to get to campus on either Friday or just Saturday. There are some meetings that are good to attend on Friday if you can be in town. The Army ROTC cadets have a meeting Friday afternoon. A few families have decided to meet at the canteen for lunch on Friday at 11:30 before the meeting. If you are on campus then stop by. The canteen is in the Mark Clark Hall building. The same building that houses the Bookstore and the post office. Other groups have their own special meetings. If these gathering apply to you and your student you would have gotten an invitation/notice.
Many families take the opportunity to go out for a nice dinner the night before the student reports in. Charleston is noted for wonderful restaurants. The Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau has a guide if you need help deciding where to go for dinner. If you are staying in a local hotel chances are several other families will be there too. I encourage families to say hello to other families that look like they have a college freshman aged student with them. Chances are they will be future classmates.
Saturday morning be sure your student has a good breakfast then get to the Holliday Alumni Center by 7:00 am. The soon to be knob should wear their white crew socks(ankle socks for the Class of 2020), athletic shoes, shorts/pants and a shirt (ticked in). The first thing they will do once they get to their barracks is change into their “knobbie clothes.” If they already have the socks and sneakers on it is just easier. It is also a good idea to say your real good-byes at the hotel. Things move pretty quickly once you get to campus.
Some families find it helpful to do a dry run from the hotel the night before. If it rains Saturday morning allow extra time to get to the campus. Charleston roads do flood when it rains. The traffic diagram is on the Matriculation Information page of the Office of the Commandant page online. You will visit the Office of the Commandant page all four years so you may want to bookmark it in your computer. Print out and bring the Traffic Diagram, FERPA form that must be completed and signed by the student, and the schedule for the day.
Once you arrive at the Holliday Alumni Center you’ll drive up in your car and the cadets there will give you the letter for your son or daughter’s company. Follow the map to the appropriate barracks. You’ll be instructed by the “Blue Shirt” volunteers and cadets at the barracks where to unload the car and put the things. You’ll also be told where to move your car. The Blue Shirt volunteers are parents of current cadets who volunteer to help the new families each year. Some travel quite a distance just to help out on this big day.
Once outside the barracks your son or daughter will be told what to do. Usually they report to the admissions representative at a table in the sallyport (entry way to the barracks). This is when the parents, and anyone with the families, just wait. Bring a folding chair with you if someone in your party has trouble standing for long periods of time. Once inside the barracks the cadet recruit will follow directions. They will eventually come out and let you know when it is alright to carry their things to their room. Once everything is in the room the parents and family leave. Do take time to get a photo of all of you either outside the barracks or inside the room. You’ll cherish them.
Parent must leave the barracks by 10:00am. Once the parents leave the gates of the sallyport will close and the introduction of the cadre will begin. This can be a very tough things for some families to watch because it signifies the beginning of a week long period when you will not hear form your son or daughter. It is best to move onto the fieldhouse for the information fair and president’s address.
There is an information fair in the McAlister Fieldhouse right next to 1st Battalion. It is good to go by there and visit the various tables. The Citadel Family Association will have representatives there serving some refreshments to. It is air conditioned, there are restrooms and you can have a seat for the President’s Address.
Once the address is over you are free to leave the campus. Some families stay Saturday night. Others want to go straight home. If you are in town Sunday you can attend the Sunday morning chapel service. You will not see or be able to talk to your son or daughter. Many families find they enjoy the time in the chapel after a stressful day Saturday. Monday evening is when the knobs take their cadet oath. The past several years the school has provided a live stream of the event online. Watch the school web site to see if they will do it again this year. It is not an event to stay for. It begins at 7:00 pm and only lasts 15 minutes or so. You won’t be able to talk to your son or daughter. Many local parents who stayed said they couldn’t tell where their child was. They have their hair cut and all in the same uniform.
Once you know your child’s company, reach out to the CFA company rep. you can find a list on their website. If you haven’t already, join the Facebook group for 2019 parents. I ask that you send me a private message on Facebook or an email to verify that you are a parent before I will confirm your request to join the group. The group is a great way to share photos and get information on the big weekends and events on campus.
My son started in 2007, before Facebook. Fortunately the Atlanta Citadel Club has had a group for parents for years. I am still in touch with a few parents I met at that first send off dinner the summer of 2007. While I didn’t have Facebook groups to help me I did correspond with The parents of cadets I met at the dinner and also the Citadel Family Association (CFA) volunteers. The CFA is for parents of current cadets and is a great resource for all parents. In the time leading up to matriculation day you can look up your area representative. After matriculation day, when you find out what company and battalion your cadet is in, there are company and battalion reps who will be very good resources for you.
Right now the incoming knobs, or pre-knobs, should be breaking in their shoes. This year it has been tough to find the proper shoes as some styles are changing and brands some cadets have bought in the past are no longer being made. The Bates brand plain toe black leather oxford with rubber heel is the one the school recommends. As long as the shoes meet the published criteria on the Matriculation Headquarters page the shoes and boots will be fine. Pay particular attention to each link on the Matriculation Headquarters page, including the Commandant’s Matriculation Information page. In addition to the list of required items in the Success Packet which is listed in the Matriculation Headquarters page, parents and their pre-knobs should review the Citadel Family Association’s “Nice to Have List.”
The items to bring hasn’t changed much over the past few years. The clear plastic boxes seem to cause some amount of stress for moms looking for the exact sizes listed. Please don’t stress over these. You do need to be sure they are no larger than the sizes listed, but it really isn’t something to lose sleep over.
I am going to repeat myself here, but it can’t be stressed enough, you and your pre-knob should read the Matriculation Headquarters page and click on ALL the links on the page, and all the links on the pages you will navigate to. Before arriving on campus I suggest you print out the Matriculation Day schedule from the Matriculation Headquarters page and also the Traffic Diagram from the Matriculation Information page.
This year I have plans to be on campus over the matriculation day weekend for meetings with various staff members. I look forward to meeting some of the parent sI’ve corresponded with as well.
You may find the following entry, located on the left hand side of this blog page, helpful as you get ready to report:
It is that time of year again. High school graduations begin and preparation for the next class of cadets at The Citadel are beginning to prepare. Each year at this time I see an increase in the number of visits to my blog, especially the entires that deal with knob year.
There is a Facebook group for the parents of the class of 2017 to help them understand the ins and outs of preparing their student to matriculate in August. The group is made up of new parents and parents of graduates. The questions always revolve around the best computers to buy and where to find items from the Success Packet of required items. Most of the answers to these questions can be found on this blog and also on the school website, but I think parents like to hear directly from other parents who have been there.
They need most everything on the required list, but even on that list there is room for personal preference, like whether they want pajamas, desk lamp, etc. Ask your future cadet what they want and what they don’t want to bring. The Citadel Family Association “Nice to Have List” is a suggestion of items to bring. Ask what your cadet wants to bring from that list. If they get to school and decide they do want something it is available on campus or at a nearby store, or you can mail it. You want them to be prepared but it should also be a growing experience for them to begin to make their own decisions.
Even as I write this I know some readers will say, but they HAVE to HAVE so and so with them. I have learned over the years that there is no universal cadet experience. Some cadets like home-baked goods in their care packages, some only want healthy foods. Some want coffee pots some do not. One parents will say you NEED to send a particular item, while another will tell you their cadet never used it.
My advice for new parents? Take this opportunity to begin to let go of your control and allow your student the opportunity to begin to make their own decisions. You’ll be amazed at how much they mature this first year.
It’s hard to believe it is time for the next class of cadets to prepare for their Matriculation Day. Last year at this time I began to post advice for the Class of 2015. The nice thing about a military school is the same routines are in place each year with minor changes. The advice in the post The Citadel: Unofficial Tips for Families of Knobs is still valid. A Letter to the Class of 2015 contains words of wisdom for incoming cadets of any future class and their parents too. Be sure to read these two entries and the links in them for information on reporting. Also review each link on the Citadel Parent Info page on this blog.
To make it easier to find helpful information for new cadets and their parents I updated my blog with a Citadel Parents Info section. The information listed is a result of 4 years of volunteering with the Georgia Citadel Parents Group and The Citadel Family Association. I’ve updated the information and added links as I learned new information or when the schools main website updates their information.
With the help of my husband, photographer, Stanley Leary, I put together a slide show of Matriculation Day photos. The key for parents to remember about The Citadel is it is a leadership school. That means your high school graduate is treated as the adult they are. You raised them and now they must learn to handle their own affairs. Before Matriculation Day it is fine to help them get ready for school by making sure they have the necessary items, but they must take the responsibility for getting ready physically and mentally for the challenge ahead. That includes being able to meet the minimum physical training requirements prior to Matriculation Day. Military scholarship ROTC cadets should meet the highest requirements. The ROTC pages for each branch of the service will give you more details on the specifics of their training. The staff and websites for The Citadel Army ROTC , Navy ROTC, and Air Force ROTC are very helpful if you have questions as your student prepares to report.
The top advice after physical training is to break in the black leather Oxford shoes. The incoming cadet should wear them each day for a few months prior to reporting.
To get a head start on learning the various aspects of being a knob the new cadet recruit should review The Guidon. Parents should read through it to become familiar with the terms used on the campus as well as the various traditions. The Guidon is published each year. The 2011-2012 edition is available in pdf format on the schools web site. Once additional tip for new families, when you have a questions about the school, most of the questions can be answered by reading the web site.
Tips on what to purchase can be found in the Getting Ready for Matriculation Day advice section of this blog. The school updates the Success packet each spring. Make sure you read the Success Packet thoroughly as it includes action items for your cadet and for you as well as the list of what your cadet Must Bring. The Matriculation Day Headquarters link is usually posted to the main page and also to the Admissions office page in the main website. The Citadel Family Association posts a Nice to Have List on their website. While most items on the list are a good idea to pack, be sure to ask your cadet what they want from the list. Remember you can help them get ready, but once they report you need to defer to your cadet. Each company and each battalion have their own traditions. Your cadet will learn what these traditions entail.
You can resource with other parents, but remember each cadet has their own experience.
Facebook groups for parents are listed by Battalion and by Company on the Helpful Web links page. Just remember the other parents are happy to help, but it is best to ask an individual about specific questions regarding your cadet rather than posting it to an open forum. You can find parent volunteers by region of the country on the Area Rep section of The Citadel Family Association website.
Your cadet will find out his/her company on Matriculation Day when you arrive on campus. Once you know the company and battalion you can always contact the parent volunteer listed in the Co. Rep section of the website.
As I mentioned earlier whenever possible encourage your cadet to work out their own problems using the cadet chain of command. They can always seek the help of the Ombudsperson on campus who is a confidential resource for cadets, faculty, staff, and parents too.
As a little background, I thought it might be helpful to post links to the entries I’ve written for Off the Base, a blog by Bobbie O’Brien of WUSF. Most of my entries for Off the Base have to do with being the mom of a cadet at The Citadel. Future entries on this blog will be on a variety of topics.