The Citadel

The Military College of South Carolina

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Fourthclass System and Leader Development

The Fourth Class System creates the discipline and instills the core values of Honor, Duty, and Respect which is expected of principled leaders in all walks of life. It is deliberately and appropriately stressful while always remaining positive, professional, and purposeful. It creates artificial stress to accelerate and make second nature the habits of self-discipline, teamwork, and a collective sense of accountability for everyone on the team.

While the “Fourth Class System” is the foundation of The Citadel Experience, it is merely the base-line of the much more important “four class system” of leader development. After completing this “prepare” stage their freshmen year, cadets advance to the “serve,” “lead,” and “command” stages each of their three upperclass years. In each stage, the cadet learns new skills and has increased responsibilities that collectively work together to produce principled leaders. As challenging as the four class system is, cadets soon learn that responsibilities of a leader far outweigh those of a follower.

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