The Citadel: Unofficial Tips for Families of Incoming Knobs

As we get closer to my son’s graduation in May, I’ve been reflecting on all the things I’ve learned about The Citadel and being a supportive parent to a cadet in this leadership school.  I thought I’d share a few of my insights in the hope that a parent just starting their journey will find these insights helpful.

Matriculation Day morning, families wait by their cadets boxes as the cadets check-in.

If you don’t have a Facebook page, get one. Once you are set up, join the group for your cadets battalion. You can find it by searching “Citadel (enter 1st – 5th) Battalion Parents Group.” Also, join the page for “The Citadel External Affairs” for regular campus updates and photos.

The best gift you can give your cadet is to learn as much as you can about the school and the process so you can be an encouraging presence to them. Reading the various sections of the school website is a great start.

Remember, once they are on campus as a first year cadet, or knob, they are not in control of their time.  YOU have to defer to THEIR instructions about when and where to meet and what they want to do.

First year cadets wait to be processed in by Bravo Company.

The best gift you can give your cadet before they report is to help them purchase all the items they will need as listed in the Success Packet and Nice to Have lists. The lists are updated each year around May/June.  Make sure you have the most up-to-date information. Differ to your cadet on what items they want on the “Nice to Have” list. This may be the hardest lesson for the parents. You must begin to allow your child to make their own decisions.

Encourage your cadet to be fully prepared to report by doing physical training daily before Matriculation Day. If they can meet or exceed the physical training requirements prior to Matriculation Day, they will be better off. Each year they post a Physical Fitness Information packet.  Read it thoroughly.

Read the Parent Tips for unofficial advice on preparing to report to Matriculation Day.

Make sure the black leather oxfords, military boots, and athletic shoes are fully broken in prior to Matriculation Day.

Buy thick white socks and black socks. Don’t spend much on the sheets for their bed.

You do not have to mark their clothes/belongings before they arrive. They will learn the system to mark their things after they report.

The initial check-in desk at 1st Battalion.

The best way to learn about the school is read through the website. If you ever have a question about he school and the process, you can always contact the Ombudsperson’s office for a confidential conversation. The Cadet Activities office is very helpful for information about special weekends.

Do not send large boxes of goodies. You can order free boxes from usps.gov - #01096L will fit into their mail box and is the size of a book when they put it in their “Knobbie bag,” a brief case like book bag.

The A-Z search and the Search window on the main website are terrific tools.

Become familiar with ALL the information on the Office of the Commandant website page. The yearly planning calendar, training schedules, regulations, and a flow chart of the promotions process can be found here.

The big weekends for visits during the year are Parents Weekend, Homecoming, Corps Day Weekend and Graduation Weekend.  You can learn about the history of each on the web site. Learn the traditions of the school: Alma Mater, Cadet Prayer, Citadel Code, Knob Knowledge, The Ring.

Do not listen to rumors and hearsay.  If your cadet does not have first hand knowledge of a situation, do not become worried about a story.  If at any time you are concerned about a story, call the Ombudsperson’s office for clarification.

After checking in with their company, first year cadet recruits pick up their new, “Knobbie” clothes, as modeled by the cadet in navy blue.

Learn how to read the training schedule and you won’t need to ask as many scheduling questions.

Have your own copy of The Guidon.  It will help you learn about what your cadet is going through. You can download it from the website or purchase a copy at the campus bookstore.

The book “In the Company of Men” by Nancy Mace gives you a terrific overview of knob year and the terms you’ll hear from your cadet.

Don’t be in a rush when you visit.  The knobs are not in control of their time.  Bring a book and just be happy to see them when they can meet you.

The Citadel Family Association (CFA) volunteers are fellow parents.  Email or call them for support as you learn the system.  They are all parents of cadets who have gone through what you are going through.  They can help you understand the system. Each Company/Battalion and Area of the country has a volunteer you can contact.

The CFA web site is a great resource especially the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section.

See the links below for other entires by Dorie Griggs:

The Making of a Military MomMom Readies for Son’s Military College

The Citadel: Year One a No Fly Zone for Hovering ParentsHow The Citadel “Ya-Yas” Came to BeLearning Leadership and Ethics at The CitadelThe 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

20 Responses

  1. […] The Citadel: Unofficial Tips for Families of Incoming Knobs […]

    • The item that appeared on no formal list that helped me as a mom get through that knobbie year was Skype!! If you aren’t familiar with Skype, it is an internet download for free! You and your cadet will each need to have a camera on your respective computers, download the program, and then you can web chat whenever convenient for your cadet for free! He could show me around his room too! I realize this probably isn’t for everyone, but it worked for us. Getting to hear his voice while seeing him on line was priceless. This mother recommends it HIGHLY!

  2. […] The Citadel: Unofficial Tips for Families of Incoming Knobs […]

  3. […] SaturdayCapt. Honors "Held to a Higher Standard"Graduation Day: No Longer the Mother of a CadetThe Citadel: Unofficial Tips for Families of Incoming KnobsDid Your Family Drink Camp Lejeune's Water?Come Face to Face with History: Tuskegee AirmenCitadel […]

  4. The Matriculation Day info for the Class of 2015 is now posted. Keep checking this link for updates:

    http://www.citadel.edu/admissions/matriculation

  5. […] The Citadel: Unofficial Tips for Families of Incoming Knobs […]

  6. […] 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 […]

  7. The Success Packet link above no longer works. You can see the list of required items on this link:http://www.citadel.edu/root/financing-the-citadel-experience/9-admissions/174-5-what-to-bring

  8. The new Success Packet for 2012 is now posted the link above is inactive. http://www.citadel.edu/root/matriculation2012

  9. Wow, this article is nice, my younger sister is analyzing such things, therefore I
    am going to tell her.

  10. […] The Citadel: Unofficial Tips for Families of Incoming Knobs […]

  11. Parents of the Class of 2017 can join the following Facebook group for new parents only. Please email me to let me know you are a parent of a new cadet first, dorie@dorielgriggs.com

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/Citadel2017Parents/

  12. […] The Citadel: Unofficial Tips for Families of Incoming Knobs […]

  13. […] Number Two – Dorie Griggs, a military mom, generated such a following with her insights into being a Citadel parent that she eventually created her own blog. Here is one of her more popular entries: The Citadel: Unofficial Tips for Families of Incoming Knobs. […]

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