The Citadel

The Military College of South Carolina

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Upperclass Conversations

We have created this page to help facilitate conversations between you and your upperclass cadet. It is our hope that after watching these videos and visiting the various links, that you, as your Cadet’s advisor, feel comfortable sitting down with them and having a serious conversation on the topics presented.  When I was a cadet, I thought I knew everything.  But when I sat down with my parents had discussions on topics like those below, I may not have given them the impression I was listening, but I was and those discussions changed my behavior.  Your cadets are no different than me, so don't be shy in having these conversations.  If you need some help understanding a certain topic better, please don't hesitate to contact your Cadet's TAC, Faculty Advisor or us ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ).

In this video the Commandant provides good information about the differences between the classes and the experiences they will have in their leadership roles. He also provides good information and advice which you can use to speak with your cadet. We expect them to be role models for their peers and subordinates. One question to ask is "what kind of role model are you at The Citadel?"

Physical Fitness is one of the pillars emphasized over all four years and effects your cadet's ability to qualify for different activities and rank. Senior year has implications on when they get ring and diploma. The goal of the pillar is to develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle that they can take with them after graduation. We measure how they are dong though a physical fitness test and height/weight screenings based on the Army Physical Fitness Test (PFT). We have resources available to those who need assistance in getting started and even maintaining their fitness. All they have to do is ask. So you understand the requirements, you may want to review the standards then discuss with your cadet how they are doing. Instructions for the Physical Readiness Program can be found in Chapter 5 of the "White Book" which you can access HERE. If you believe your cadet needs some assistance, encourage them to seek out help.

COL Mark Bebensee has been with the College for about 40 years. In this time he has seen the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to academic performance. He treats each cadet that comes to see him as an individual and provides them with a pathway to success. But, it is up to the cadet to take responsibility and execute the plan. It is our hope that armed with the right information that you will be able to advise your cadet to make good decisions in beginning, form a relationship with their Academic Advisor and develop effective study habits that will allow them to succeed academically throughout their career at The Citadel. Although longer than the others, it is filled with good information based on a great deal of experience.

If you have questions, visit their website where you will find a great deal of information based on those who came before you have asked. If you can’t find the information, the give them a call. You can go directly to their webpage by clicking HERE.

Colonel Tom Clark is the Director of our Krause Center for Leadership. They have developed the academic curriculum of your cadet’s Leadership program. Tom provides a great overview of the program that will help you better understand what they are experiencing and how it can apply to life in the barracks and in their life after The Citadel. . . .if they they take advantage of it.  When you have time, we encourage you to review the Leadership Develpment Program Guide.

Alcohol Use. The legal age in South Carolina is 21. Like colleges across America, your cadet will have new freedoms that they can choose to exercise. One of these will be to consume alcohol or not. But unlike other schools, being intoxicated at The Citadel will have larger ramifications than simply a hangover the next morning. Both the Discipline and Honor system state that intoxication is not an excuse for violating the rules or Honor Code. We have already discussed the ramifications associated with violating the Honor Code, but violating the Discipline system could disqualify them from certain programs later in their cadet career. Like students at other colleges, they will face pressure to drink alcohol. Have the conversation with them and share your experience and expectations. Make sure they understand that there are ramifications of their decisions and follow-on actions. This video offers some pointers on having that conversation with your cadet before reporting. For more information and resources, visit the Campus Alcohol and Drug Information Center (CADIC) website.

The Academic Support Center. We have an incredible Academic Support Center on campus that provides a wide range of services, such as tutoring and a math lab, to our cadets based on their individual needs. Many think because we are a military school, we can make cadets report to and use these services. This is not true. On their own, cadets must recognize their needs and then work with the staff to develop a plan of services tailored to those needs. Cadets who need these services may not reach out to the Academic Support Center because they either see college as a fresh start or believe asking for help is a sign of weakness. You know your son or daughter better than anyone. During your conversations before their arrival, encourage them to meet with the ASC staff early in the academic year if they find they are having troubles with a course.

Services for Students with Disabilities also falls under the umbrella of the Academic Support Center. If your cadet has a documented disability, advise him/her to meet with the Disability Coordinator in 103 Thompson Hall after Matriculation Week is over to discuss services and accommodations. Please assure your cadet that the information provided is confidential and will not be shared without his/her permission. Additionally, it is important for your cadet to understand that as he/she enters this new academic environment, services and accommodations he/she may have been provided in high school are still important for academic success in college.

For more information, please visit the Academic Support Center's webpage.

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