Matriculation Day: Getting Ready

3rd battalion knobs
Knobs line up in 3rd battalion to get their PT clothes. On Matriculation Day.


Congratulations!  Your student is about to begin their Knob year at The Citadel.  It is an exciting time. It is also a time of preparation for both you and your student. This blog is maintained by the mom of a 2011 graduate. Always refer to the school website for official information or call the Commandant’s Office with questions,(843) 953-3020. Web links are provided here to help you learn to navigate the school site. Matriculation Headquarters page for the Class of 2021

The Citadel will post the Success Packet sometime in May or June. Keep checking the web site for the announcement that this information is now available.  The items to pack in the Success Packet are required of all cadets including the athletes. The information for new parents will be updated for the new class each Spring.

The Citadel Success Institute (CSI) information is posted to this link.

The Physical Training (PT) requirements are exactly that, REQUIREMENTS. While as parents we can help our student with the items to pack, the student has to take complete ownership of getting themselves physically ready to report. ALL cadets must pass the Physical Training test throughout their time at the school. Knob year goes along more smoothly if the knob reports on Matriculation Day already meeting or exceeding the PT requirements.

In addition to being physically fit, new cadets need to break in their new shoes. Wearing the new black leather, plain toe Oxford shoes for a few months before matriculation day will ensure that foot problems will be minimized the first few months. Many knobs ignore this advice then spend time in the infirmary with foot problems. Don’t let this happen to you.

The Guidon is a small book that is updated annually. Incoming cadets should take time to read the entire Guidon. Once on campus they will be required to memorize portions of this book, as well as adhere to the rules in the book.  Parents may want to purchase their own copy fro the bookstore on campus or download the online version to learn about the school.

In the months leading up to Matriculation Day incoming knobs should tighten their social media security. They should not use hashtags related to The Citadel. Knobs want to fly under the radar of the upperclass cadets. Posting to social media will raise their visibility.

Some of The Citadel Alumni groups around the country  host Cadet Send off events to help new families make local connections. Contact your local alumni club to see if they will host an event.

Knobs walk into chapel the Sunday of Matriculation Day. Please note the crew socks and black “knobbie bag.” Be sure to bring extra socks and underwear. They need them in case they can’t get their laundry done or back from the campus laundry on time.

Notes on items listed on the official list found in the Success Packet (This list changes slightly each year. Be sure to refer to the most current version posted to the Matriculation Headquarters page late each spring.)

Socks: When purchasing the clothing items keep in mind it is best to get good, thick, socks.  Many families find the “Gold toe” socks work well. You can’t find 100% white cotton ankle socks. The wicking fabric is a good idea.  Pack extra socks. BE SURE TO HAVE ANKLE SOCKS (new for 2016). Wear them with athletic shoes Matriculation morning.

Underwear & T-shirts: Make sure the t-shirts are a snug fit.

Linens: Do Not buy expensive towels and linens.  Many cadets make their beds once then they sleep on top of the bed with a blanket.  Or they use the sheets for the banners that are made for Parents Weekend and other occasions.

The towels and wash clothes may also be used to polish brass in addition to their intended use. They will need the towels but don’t put a lot of money into them.

Clear Plastic boxes: 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. See the photo below for an example of clear plastic boxes.

An example of clear boxes

Shoes: Make sure you purchase good running/cross training shoes. They should fit the feet well color isn’t dictated but as with most everything this first year they should not be too flashy.

Purchase the military shoes ASAP and make sure your cadet has all shoes broken in.  Many cadets wear their shoes as often as they can (even with shorts and t-shirts in the summer) before reporting on Matriculation Day. The school sells the Bates shoes in the cadet store.

They require 2 pair of the black military shoes.  Most cadets have one pair they keep in top-notch inspection ready condition.  The other pair is also shined but used to go to class, mess etc. Both pair should be broken in.  They’ll learn how to polish them at school.

The school recommends the Bates brand polishable leather military shoe in addition to the Bates brand boots.  If your cadet knows a current student they can always ask their friend for advice on shoes, boots. Please note that the school does not approve of shoes that have stitching by the heel of the black shoe.

Note the black shoes worn here by the cadre. It is extremely important that all first year cadets break in their shoes a few months before Matriculation Day.

Your cadet will let you know what additional items they will need.  Each company has their particular way of doing things so requests will vary by company/battalion.

Some helpful links as you prepare to report

Computer recommendations from the school.

The Citadel: Useful Links (Registrar, FERPA, Financial Aid, Book Store, etc.)


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