It isn’t unusual to feel a little uncertain and anxious about embarking on “the road less traveled”. The journey applies to families as well as cadets. We’ve compiled a few of the questions we’ve all asked. If you can’t find what you are looking for here or on our other site pages, feel free to contact your Battalion or Company Representative, or any CFA Board member if you have additional questions or concerns. The Guidon (general information and knowledge for fourth class cadets), the Blue Book (regulations for the Corps of Cadets) and the White Book (Organizations, Functions and Standard Operating Procedures) are also excellent references for both families and cadets.
The Citadel Family Association (CFA)
How do I join the CFA?
You automatically become a member of The Citadel Family Association when your son or daughter is enrolled in The Citadel.
How do I pay dues to the CFA?
You do not. Your membership is free. It is part of the tuition you are already paying for your cadet.
What is the role of the CFA?
The CFA is an organization made up of Citadel parents who are here to support parents of Cadets. We are on hand to answer your questions and provide information on CFA and Citadel activities. We are also available to assist you should you have “sensitive” issues and just need someone to listen or we can refer you to a resource that will help you resolve your concerns. You can recognize us by our “Blue Shirts”, thus we are referred to as the “Blue Shirt Volunteers”.
How can I be assured of confidentiality if I talk to a CFA representative?
All CFA volunteers are parents first! We have been there and we understand the issues facing Knobs and Cadets. We understand the system and we know how to offer assistance without drawing any undue attention to the Knob or Cadet. We also know when to refer a matter to a higher authority without compromising confidentiality.
For Knob Parents
What is the Fourth Class System?
The Guidon (The Guidon is the Cadet’s handbook which contains all the facts, knowledge and rules a Cadet will need to master in order to become proficient and successful.) provides this definition. “A fourth class cadet is a freshman.” Fourth class cadets will obey any lawful order by an upper-class cadet. There are certain areas that are off-limits to a fourth class cadet: For example, all grassed areas, except when in athletic uniform or in formation; the quadrangle, except during formation; all streets on campus, except when crossing or along the Avenue of Remembrance; the sidewalk along the Avenue of Remembrance, etc. The Guidon also contains a list of 4th Class Knob Knowledge requirements.
Parent and Cadets should please review information contained in The Guidon which will help make the first year a successful one. And, what is a successful first year: Recognition Day!
What is Challenge Week? Also known as Cadre Week.
The Citadel works under the Fourth Class System which, according to The Guidon, “provides a base upon which a fourth class cadet [a knob] may develop those qualities essential to being a good leader. It is dedicated to the principle that no one is fit to lead who has not learned to follow.”
Challenge Week is a crash course in learning how to follow. Knobs learn to perform new but soon-to-be routine tasks under pressure. Tasks may include shining shoes and brass; memorizing and repeating important, mundane and trivial facts, policies and procedures; following cadre officers’ orders; standing and marching and running in formation. The days are long … up before dawn and in bed well after dark. The weather is hot. The bugs are thick. It is tough and demanding and seven days long.
Knobs learn how important it is to be on time, to be well prepared and to look after their classmates, regardless of who they may be. It is during Challenge Week when the life-long bonds of being Citadel men and women are forged.
Are there places on campus where a Knob can study without being subjected to the Fourth Class System?
Yes. Classrooms and labs, auditoriums, the library and the Chapel are all areas where the Fourth Class System is not enforced.
Where can I find the plastic bin that is listed in the items of things to bring and what is it used for.
Plastic bins are no longer authorized.
Can parents send food to Knobs in the mail?
Yes, Knobs can receive non-perishable items in the mail. However, you should not send anything until after Hell Week. Thereafter, it is strongly recommended that you send all items in a box small enough to fit into their “Knobbie Bag”. The “Knobbie Bag” is used to carry books to class. It is the size of a small briefcase. The Post Office has small priority mail boxes for free that will fit perfectly. Larger boxes may be sent to central storage. Have your cadet inquire there if a package is not at the post office.
When will Knobs be able to get leave for weekends away from campus?
Fourth Class Cadets are rarely authorized overnight leave or weekend leave during the first semester (mandatory evacuation for a hurricane or other such event is the exception.) This includes Parent’s Weekend. They are authorized one (1) one overnight and (1) weekend leave during the second semester if they are Academically, Physically, and Conduct Proficient.
Do we pack “street clothes” for our Cadet to have for weekends?
Fourth Class Cadets are not allowed to wear street clothes when they are off post. They are required to wear the uniform of the day. There may be occasions when cadets will need civilian clothing during off campus travel. Civilian clothing can be stored in central storage.
Are Knobs allowed to have cell phones?
Knobs will be using cell phones for emergency communication while on campus, as well as personal communication through the year. The cell phones will be locked up during the first week. After that, cell phone usage is restricted by place and time. Review cell phone use rules in the “White Book”.
Can I sign up for cable or web based programs, i.e. Satellite Radio, Sports shows, etc., for my Knob?
No. Your Knob will be under restrictions on what can be viewed on the computer. And, you may wish to wait on other services such as Satellite Radio, etc., as these can be an unnecessary distraction.
Can I have magazines, newspapers, etc., delivered to the PO address?
Yes, you can send magazines, newspapers, etc., so long as the material contained in them is appropriate for all readers!
After I leave my Cadet on Matriculation Day, how long before I can expect to hear from them?
Knobs will be allowed to contact their parents following Hell Week.
Can Knobs use pay phones on campus?
Yes, Knobs can use a pay phone to make calls during certain hours. There is a pay phone located in Mark Clark Hall.
When can I send emails to my Knob? When will Knobs have their computers set up?
Email accounts are set up for each Cadet by the Citadel IT department. It usually takes one to two weeks (at least) for your Knob to be assigned their email account. Emails can then be sent and are encouraged; however, especially during the first year actual written letters and cards are recommended.
Computers can be taken to Matriculation, but they will not be used for the first week and may be shipped directly to the campus for greater convenience. During Matriculation, the Cadet will be given a postal mail address as well as a campus email account. Some Cadets prefer to keep their current email address for personal communications and use the Citadel address for class and college related email.
If I cannot reach my cadet by phone or email, who can I contact?
The Tactical Officer (TAC) for your Cadet’s Company can be contacted. He or she will get in touch with your cadet to determine if there is a reason why they are not responding. However, do not ring the alarm bell too soon. You may also keep information about your Cadet’s roommate handy so your first inquiry could be on a lower level. If you have an immediate concern, then by all means call the TAC officer. We just caution you not to create a situation that might embarrass your Cadet.
What about other forms of communication?
Nothing takes the place of receiving a letter or card in the mailbox. Parents, friends and family members are therefore encouraged to send mail as often as possible. Please keep it cheerful, supportive and upbeat. They will need your buttress and the security of hearing from home will make all the difference in the world to your Cadet.
Will my daughter have to get her hair cut?
Your daughter is subject to hair regulations.
For All Parents/Sponsors
How does my Cadet request special leave?
Your Knob should contact his TAC officer for any special requests.
What do the TAC officers do in the barracks?
TAC officers are military officers who are part of the Commandant’s staff. They provide leadership training, supervise military functions and oversee Cadet Life in the barracks. They are also available to provide counseling to Cadets.
Are parents allowed to visit Cadets in their rooms?
Parents (and other guests) are not allowed in the barracks with few exceptions. During Matriculation Day parents can assist the Knob in unloading and taking possessions to the Knob’s room. Throughout the year, there are a couple additional “open barracks” days (Parent’s Weekend, Corps Day). Typically Saturday mornings, each opportunity is limited to a few hours, allowing parents and family members the opportunity to access the barracks.
My son/daughter called and complained about the Citadel; they are thinking about quitting. Who can I contact to speak about this?
First, remind your son/daughter about why they chose The Citadel to begin with. Talk to them about the commitment, what they have already sacrificed to get to this point and what a Citadel education will mean to them in years to come. Remind them that they selected The Citadel as a “road less traveled”. And, reassure them that they have your full support in being successful at The Citadel. Also, reassure them that they are not the first Cadet to experience these thoughts. Do your best to determine the reason for their apprehension and then break down each issue with a solution.
If you feel the situation warrants a more direct intervention, then get in touch with your Cadet’s Company Commander. He or she will speak to your Cadet. The Tactical Officer in the barracks is another source of help.
My son/daughter is transferring to The Citadel from the Military Service. How will this impact his experience at The Citadel?
Your son/daughter will still be part of the Fourth Class System. However, the fact that he/she has served in the Military will be respected by all Cadets.
What types of medical problems is the infirmary staff able to handle?
Available (and immediate) clinical services included, but are not limited to, sick call, urgent care, pharmacy, x-ray and laboratory, sports medicine, orthopedic and women’s clinic, overnight admission stay, immunizations and allergy shots, general medical clinic, and transportation to a specialist when required.
Are Cadets allowed leave for medical visits off campus?
Yes, Cadets are allowed off campus for medical appointments. However, all requests must be approved in advance by The Citadel surgeon. If a Cadet wishes to see a doctor or dentist outside the Charleston area, he/she should plan to do so in conjunction with an allotted overnight, a weekend, or during Thanksgiving, Christmas or Spring Break. Except for emergencies, cadets are responsible for their own transportation (taxi, bus, Uber, etc.).
Is there a place on campus where Cadets can get food other than the mess hall?
Yes, Munnerlyn Food Court is located next to Mark Clark Hall. It is open 7 days each week. Hot food, sandwiches, pizza and drinks are available. Cadets can use their Bulldog Card, credit card or cash. The bookstore/gift shop has snacks and drinks as well as supplies and toiletries.
What is a Bulldog Card? Now called OneCard.
One Card is an account that you set up which allows your Cadet to draw upon and is paid through pre-deposited funds. It can be used for the purchase of snacks and meals at Munnerlyn. Learn more >>
What is a Quarter Master Account?
Each year The Citadel determines an amount that parents are required to pay for the Quarter Master Account. This is like a prepaid credit card. As your Cadet needs books, academic supplies, uniforms, haircuts, tailor shop alterations, etc., the Quarter Master Account is charged. You will receive a statement showing the balance in this account. Contact the Treasurer’s Office for further details.
If a Cadet needs an item of clothing tailored, can it be done on campus?
Yes, there is a tailor shop on campus that will alter uniforms. This is paid for by the Quarter Master Account.
How does my son/daughter get their laundry done?
Each Cadet is provided with a laundry bag. Laundry is then taken by the Cadet to the laundry facility on campus. This service is covered by the Quarter Master Account. Some cadets may take their laundry to a local facility where the washing is done for a modest charge, but, they will still need to iron the garment to specification. A coin-operated laundromat is also available on campus.
If there is a laundry, why do Cadets need an iron and ironing board?
During the first year, your Cadet will be required to put the finishing touches on their uniform. This will require them to learn to iron their shirts and apply a military crease; thus the spray starch comes in handy! They will also be required to iron their pants. When you go to purchase an iron and ironing board make sure they are reasonably durable, as they will be used daily.
Can Cadets have visitors overnight on campus?
Visitors are not allowed in the barracks for overnight stays at any time.
Is there any way to follow up on what Knobs are doing during the first weeks?
You may want to get your Knob’s training schedule, available on the Commandant’s web page.
Can my son/daughter have visible body piercing?
How do I track my Cadet’s progress relative to grades?
You will need to have your son/daughter provide you with access to their Lesesne Gateway account. This includes the password. All information relative to grades, tuition payments, etc., will be found here. It is a personalized account. Even though you are the parent, you may only have access to this information through the permission of your son or daughter.
When do parents typically visit campus? When should I make reservations for visits ?
There are special weekends during the school year (on Parent’s Weekend, Corps Day Weekend/Recognition Weekend, Graduation, etc.) when families and friends are encouraged to visit campus. These coincide with some of a cadet’s major milestones. Charleston is a popular tourist destination and hotels tend to fill up quickly for these special events. You should make your travel plans well in advance to take advantage of better rates as well as to ensure availability.