Packing for Knob Year at The Citadel: Unofficial tips

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.

3rd battalion knobs
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.

The Citadel Family Association has a “Nice to Have List” posted to their website. Notes on those items are listed below the Success Packet list.

move in
Matriculation Day morning families pull up to the battalion and with the help of the Citadel Family Association volunteers unload the car.

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.

CLOTHING/PERSONAL ITEMS

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 [1] pair of conservative style pajamas (optional) – Personal preference. many cadets sleep in their PT shorts and shirt.

Twelve [12] 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 [12] 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 [12] 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 [1] pair of “long johns” They wear this under their itchy wool uniforms later in the fall. Some don’t wear them at all.

Twelve [12] 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 [12] 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 [1] 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 [1] pair of shower shoes (black) 

Six [6] white, cotton towels – Buy inexpensive towels at Wal-Mart or Target

Six [6] washcloths – Buy inexpensive towels at Wal-Mart or Target

One [1] standard sized pillow – Send along their favorite pillow

Four [4] white pillow cases – 

Four [4] 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 [12] 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 [1] 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 [3] 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 [1] 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 [1] 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 [1] 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 [2] 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 [5] white, beige, or skin-colored regular bras

Five [5] 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 [1] desk reading lamp

One [1] picture with frame – no larger than 8”x 10” Most knobs wait until after parents Weekend to bring a Frame

One [1] 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 [1] oscillating fan – Box or floor fans on a stand are not authorized.

Computer and printer – See the Computer Recommendations page 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.

Class of 2019
Knobs line up to march to lunch after the battalion gates close. Note the PT shorts, shirts and caps, crew length socks and athletic shoes. They wear a clear plastic bag around their neck that will hold the Guidon and other items.

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:

  • EXTENSION CORD
  • SURGE SUPPRESSOR/POWER STRIP WITH 3 OR MORE OUTLETS (for computer)
  • PENCILS, PENS, STAPLER, STAPLES, PAPER CLIPS
  • COPY PAPER FOR PRINTER
  • EXTRA PRINTER INK
  • HIGHLIGHTERS
  • PERMANENT BLACK MARKERS (used to label things that will be required)

CLEANING SUPPLIES:

  • 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
  • LAUNDRY SUPPLIES
  • 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.

MEDICAL:

  • 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

POLISHING SUPPLIES:

  • 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

ROOM SUPPLIES:

  • 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.**

Parents of the Class of 2020, if you haven’t already, please join the Facebook group: The Citadel: Parents of the Class of 2020. You will meet fellow parents and get up to date information and links to find photos and other information. You can also join the Facebook group for The Citadel Familiy Association (CFA).

Find Facebook groups for parents by regions of the country too. See this entry for a list.

Reporting to the 1st Sergeant on Matriculation Day morning:

Welcome to The Citadel Class of 2018

waitingwithboxesEach year at about this time the search terms on my blog feature words all related to knob year and preparations for knob year. I’ve written welcome entries to new families for four years now. The tips and advice in each entry still stand. The links are posted below. I highly recommend you read each one. In this entry I will spend some time on recommendations for the various required items knobs MUST bring each year.

For the third year in a row I’ve posted a Facebook group for new parents. This year’s group. The Citadel: Parents of the Class of 2018 has over 20 members so far. In addition to new parents, the group includes a few parents of graduates who volunteer their time to answer questions about this first year at The Citadel. If you have a student who will be in the Class of 2018 at The Citadel, please send me an email to request to join the group, dorie@dorielgriggs.com.

Each year the new parents seem to focus on a different aspect of required or Nice to Have Item on the official Success packet list or the Citadel Family AssociationNice to Have List.” The parents of the class of 2016 asked a lot of questions about fine grade sand paper. The 2017 parents focused on the types of men’s underwear to purchase. It may sound silly even to those same parents now, but at the time these parents just wanted to make sure they sent their cadet off with everything they needed to succeed.

The most important items on the “Nice to have list” are the iron and travel size ironing board. Your cadet will iron, a lot. Spray starch is nice to have. Ask your cadet what they will want from the list. Shoe polish, rags, fine grade sand paper, a small plastic box with general medications, like ibuprofen and cough/cold medicine, band aids, Neosporin, and mole skin for their feet, are all good ideas to bring.

The list of required items changes very little from year to year. You MUST check the official list when it is posted for the Class of 2018. It will be linked on a Matriculation Day Headquarters link as well as to the Commandant’s Matriculation Day page on the school website. For this entry I will post what was on the list for the Class of 2017 with notes about the various items.

NOTE: The information below has been  updated since the first publication for the Class of 2018. 7/20/15

From pages 6 – 7 in the Fourth Class Success Packet for the Class of 2019: (Items in BOLD are my recommendations/comments)

CLOTHING/PERSONAL ITEMS

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 [1] of conservative style pajamas (optional)

Many cadets wear their PT (physical training) clothes not pajamas. a bathrobe is issued to them.
Twelve [12] white, cotton, crew-neck tee shirts

Double the amount of tee shirts (24) they should fit snuggly so as not to wrinkle under their uniform shirts.
Twelve pairs [12] of white cotton underwear – at least 6 pair jockey shorts (male)

6 pairs of the “Tighty whitey” type men’s briefs are required. The 6 pair will be folded and kept in a drawer for inspections. Other type of underwear can be worn under uniforms. Many prefer the boxer briefs for under their uniform pants. The brands linked here are for example only. You can purchase whatever brand you prefer. DOUBLE the amount (24)
Twelve pairs [12] of white cotton panties (female) – NO thongs

This is pretty straight forward for the female cadets.
One pair [1] of “long johns”

Long underwear top and bottom in a thin material and solid color are used for under their heavy wool uniforms in the late fall early winter. You can send these at the Thanksgiving break.
Twelve pairs [12] of black crew length socks – cotton socks are recommended. Thick cotton socks are best. the Gold toe brand is good, but other makes are fine too. Some prefer the more expensive military socks to keep from developing blisters. Double the number of pairs of socks (24)
[Experience has proven that socks made of synthetic material contribute to blistering and
in some cases secondary infections.]
Twelve pairs [12] of white, cotton athletic socks

Thick white CREW LENGTH socks are needed for knobs. The Gold Toe brand is good but others are as well. Look for high cotton content and no logos. Watch for sales at your favorite stores.
One [1] bathing suit, solid black or navy blue (female: conservative one piece)

Mostly black or blue. Minimal piping/stitching is OK. Lands End usually carries them, but you can find them at other stores or on Amazon. Sample of the men’s suit. Women’s suits at Lands End or Speedo or Tyr brands are pretty easy to find in a range of sizes.

One pair [1] of shower shoes [black]

Six [6] white, cotton towels

Double the amount of towels. Purchase in expensive towels form a store like Walmart or Target. They end up using their towels to clean. Do not spend a lot of money on good towels.

Six [6] washcloths

Double the amount of towels and buy inexpensive towels. Walmart has 18 for $4.00

One [1] standard sized pillow
Four [4] white pillow cases

Buy inexpensive pillow cases.

Four [4] white, non-fitted sheets for a single bed

Be sure to buy very inexpensive FLAT, not fitted sheets. They also use these to make banners. Most cadets make their bed then sleep on top of the made bed. DO NOT buy expensive sheets.

Twelve [12] white handkerchiefs

You can find these in Walmart or Target stores.

Toilet articles

What ever shaving and person care items your cadet uses. Include bar soap or liquid body wash. they do not need a a carrying bag.

One pair [1] of good cross training shoes (non-marking soles) in a subdued color
such as white, navy, or black (may have contrasting trim.)

Buy the brand that fits your cadet best. Be sure they are broken in prior to Matriculation Day.

One pair [1] of good running shoes (non-marking soles) in a subdued color such
as white, navy, or black (may have contrasting trim.)

Many cadets have the same she for cross training and running. Buy what fits best.

Three pairs [3] of black bike shorts (cotton spandex) for optional wear with
physical training uniform

Compression type shorts that are optional under PT clothes

One pair [1] of military style boots, sand colored with deep lug soles – boots must
be and colored with a plain or capped toe
Boots made of patent leather or poromeric material
are not authorized [The Cadet Store at The Citadel sells Bates brand boots, but
large sizes may not be readily available. Be sure boots are “broken in” prior to
arrival to prevent foot problems.]  Bates Brand, M-8 Desert Assault boots, 8″Height Other brands are available. You can order them online. Some sporting goods sell them at a good price. I use Google to find good prices.

One [1] clear plastic storage container for under the bed. It must be sized no larger than 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″. 

One [1] 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 may not exceed 24″L x 12″H x 18″W. 

Containers: Target, Wal-Mart, Home Depot and the Container Store carry containers that will meet the specifications.

Two pairs [2] of military style, plain toe, smooth leather, black oxford shoes with rubber heels. Shoes made of patent leather or poromeric material are not authorized. You will not be permitted to wear shoes that do not meet this criteria. Be sure all shoes are “broken in” prior to arrival to prevent foot problems.

Boots and shoes are available at The Citadel Cadet Store. Summer store hours are Monday-Wednesday
7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m and Thursday 7:00 a.m. to 4:30. 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 [5] white, beige, or skin-colored regular bras
Five [5] white or beige sports bras
Five pairs [5] of neutral, black, or skin colored pantyhose

One pair of black, military style, leather or corfam, pumps with closed toe and
closed heel with a ½ to 1.5 inch heel. Shoes are not to have straps or
any kind of buckle or decorative styling.

I am told the female knobs to not really need the stockings and pumps the first year.

One black, leather or flat black vinyl military style handbag, no larger than 8 ½ by
11 inches, with or without shoulder strap. Suede handbags are not
authorized. Handbag may have a handle or shoulder strap with a buckle.
Handbag may not have any decorative styling.

The Citadel does not furnish bedding, cadets shipping their belongings to the college must
bring with them two sheets, one pillowcase, and their pillow for use until they can access their
belongings.

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”x10”

Most knobs do not keep a photo on their desk

One radio/stereo/CD player/tape recorder/player – speakers must be no larger
than 12”x 24”

It is best to wait to have a device like this until after Parents Weekend.

Computer and printer

For the school computer recommendations see this link.  If your cadet uses a MAC there is an Apple store in Charleston.

Alarm clock
Oscillating fan ONLY – box or floor fans on a stand are not authorized

Not needed in all barracks.

LUGGAGE

If you pack in card board boxes and trash bags there is no need to use the storage facility.

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.

Previous entries about knob year preparations:

The Citadel: Year One a No Fly Zone for Hovering Parents

The Citadel: Unofficial Tips for Families of Incoming Knobs

A Letter to The Citadel Class of 2015

Knob Year Notes for Parents

Matriculation Day: Getting Ready

Matriculation Day: Reporting in that first Day

Knobs pick up their new PT clothes (AKA Knobbie clothes). Note the cadet in the navy blue to the right.
Knobs pick up their new PT clothes (AKA Knobbie clothes). Note the cadet in the navy blue to the right.

A Few Notes for the Class of 2016 Before Matriculation Day

Bravo knobs line up in 1st Battalion ready to report to the First Sergeant.
2010 photo

In just a few days The Citadel Class of 2016 Cadet Recruits will report for Matriculation Day. These first year students are called Cadet Recruits until they go through the promotion ceremony the Saturday morning of Parent’s Weekend.

Right now the cadet recruits around the country are beginning to focus on what is in front of them. From all reports it is the most challenging year of their young lives. I am told by graduates that is is also one of the most rewarding years.

I thought I’d write a few last minute tips for anyone reading this who may not have followed my other posts.

For the Cadet Recruits:

1) Set your Facebook privacy settings as high as you can, including all photos. The cadre are at the school now and already have your names. You don’t need to hand them material about you because your Facebook page is open for all to see. This is good advice for anyone, BTW.

2) Be sure you have printed out and completed the FERPA form and bring it with you. Remember your wallet and ID.

3) It’s too late now to start your physical training if you haven’t already. Know that you will do lots of push ups, sit ups and run every day.

4) You won’t find your company until Matriculation morning. After that your friends and family can get your address through the People Search window on the main school site.

5) Hopefully you’ve started to memorize the Guidon, the small book you were sent. If not be prepared to start memorizing.

6) Set small goals for yourself, like just get to the weekend, then get to Parent’s Weekend, Thanksgiving then Christmas.

Bravo Company cadre prepare to meet the Cadet Recruits.
2010

For the parents:

1) Learn the school web site . I’ll post some links you’ll want to know about right away, like the Operations and Training Schedule page and the photos page. When you can’t hear form them the first 7 – 10 days you can learn about what they are doing and look for their photo.

2) Join the Facebook group for your cadet recruits company and battalion. There is also a page for 2016 parents. The only members are new parents and a few parents of graduates. The Citadel Family Association volunteers are a great help as well.

3) Watch the school web site and The Citadel External Affairs Facebook page for updated information on the big weekends and events. The  Cadet Activities page and Facebook group are also good sources of information and photos.

4) Remember this is a Leadership School. Once you leave campus your cadet recruit is expected to take responsibility for their success and failures. That includes their grades and classes.

5) If they call home discouraged build them up. Remind them to use the cadet chain of command if they have issues. If at anytime you have concerns and want to speak to someone on campus confidentially, call the Ombudspersons office.

6) You can usually find links for the information you are looking for by using the search window on the school site or on this blog. On Facebook groups go to the upper right hand side of he group page and click on the magnifying glass icon. Enter the search term and relevant posts will appear. Bookmark this Helpful Web Links post to refer back to through out the year..

7) If you and your cadet recruit are on campus Friday afternoon stop by Mark Clark Hall, fist floor reception room, between 3:00 – 5:00. A group of new parents and CFA volunteers will be in the first floor reception room to just visit and meet each other.

8) At 6:00 there is a BBQ for new families and old friends. You need to RSVP here.

Take a deep breath. It may be a bumpy ride, but you won’t be going through it alone. Your cadet recruit will learn to work with their classmates. You’ll learn how to find information and support from fellow parents.

Best wishes for a great knob year!

The cadre march the cadet recruits to lunch on Matriculation Day, 2010.

The Matriculation Headquarters page/Success Packet is now available

Each year The Citadel posts a page called Matriculation Headquarters.  I can tell by the number of hits on my blog that parents and future cadets  alike are anxiously awaiting this information. The search terms used to find my blog tells the story. The list is filed with “packing list” “required list” “what to bring” and more.

The required list of what to bring is in the Success Packet listed under Important Documents and Links. Optional items are on the Citadel Family Association (CFA) web site under CFA Benefits.

This is the first test your future cadet will go through. To be prepared for entering this leadership school your cadet should take charge of all the information on the Matriculation Headquarters page. They really mean it when they say to break in your shoes and start your work outs now.

This is also a test for every parent. Let your future cadet take charge of preparing to report.

The wait is over. The work is just beginning.

The Citadel: Preparing for Knob Year, Class of 2016

A member of the Class of 2015 reports on Matriculation Day 2011.

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.

Visit the Matriculation Headquarters page. The required items to bring can be found in the Success Packet listed under Important Documents and Links.

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.

Citadel Family Association, “Blue Shirt” volunteers wait with parents of the Class of 2015.

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.

The Bravo Company cadre lead the new knobs of the Class of 2015 to lunch on Matriculation Day 2011. (Note the crew length socks)

More Tips for The Citadel Class of 2016

Previous posts from Off the Base

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.

The Making of a Military Mom

Mom Readies for Son’s Military College

The Citadel: Year One a No Fly Zone for Hovering Parents

How The Citadel “Ya-Yas” Came to Be

Learning Leadership and Ethics at The Citadel

The Citadel Trained Me as Well as My Son

The Citadel: BVA’s and  Summerall Guards

The Citadel: Recognition Day and Ring Weekend

Care Packages for Cadets: The Citadel Heroes Project

The Citadel Bond Renews Parents’ Long Time Friendships

The Citadel: Unofficial Tips for Families of Incoming Knobs

The Citadel: Saying Good-Bye, But Always Connected

A Sister, a Mom, A Family Prepares for Military Life

Dorie, Nelson and Leslie. Ring Ceremony 2010

Survival Skills to Succeed as a Citadel Mom

A New Blue Star Mom Shows Supports for Fallen Soldier

Celebration, Tradition, Ritual: The Long Gray Li

Citadel Parent Crafts Her Own Graduation Ritual

Graduation Day: No Longer the Mother of a Cadet

A Letter to The Citadel Class of 2015

Citadel Mom Cycle Completed – A Blue Star Mom Emerges

A Military Mom Meets Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell, IV

An Army Mom Transitions from The Citadel to Ft. Benning

A Seminary Student, Now an Army Mom Reflects on 9/11