The Citadel


10-Year Member
Founding Member
Jun 9, 2006
I guess I'll throw something out there just to provide that all important first thread. I only picked The Citadel because I know a little about it and I don't have too much knowledge of the other places. I hope that others will follow with what they know (hint hint)

Here is some of The Citadel's PR:
I didn't realize they had the same uniforms as the Cadets at West Point.
Yep. There are handsome aren't they? LOL They are also called "The Long Gray Line" as well. A ton of history there. Some of it not so pretty good. It was the Citadel boys that fired on Ft. Sumter. LOL They really are sharp. I saw a Citadel guy escorting his Academy date at the All Academies Ball this past year and I thought he was West Point until my son told me that he wasn't. I don't know how he could tell. The uniforms were so similar.
Depends which uniform he is wearing. The covers are notably different from a distance and the grey seemed to be a different tint but that could just be my imagination.
I am looking for someone who can tell me if The Citadel is as good as West Point. My son is wanting to go into the Army and wants to go to a military school. His test scores are good but may not get him into West Point though we will try. He is also interested in The Citadel but wonders if they are as good and tough physcially, academically and militarily. He wants an environment that will push him severly. Thanks! Joan
No, they're not close ... aside from uniforms. lol

One is worth a bundle of $$. T'other costs ma & pa a bundle in the absence of an ROTC scholarship.
Whistle, You kind of make an appointment to one of the SAs sound like something akin to winning the lottery.
Oh boy.... I just can't let this go!

First..... nothing is free... not even and education at a service academy. It is paid for through service to our country.... further I am willing to bet that some kids in some for instance..... would make more money if they paid for their educatin and then were employed in the private sector..... how long does it take an officer to make $50,000/year???
*******EDIT:******** It is not unheard of for new engineering grads to have several offers for their first job in the $50,000 range.... and I am not talking about MIT grads either... your "cheap state university" will do.

Second, while it may seem to some kids and their parents that getting an appointment to a service academy is arbritray and capricious.... I don't beleive it is.... but there is something way more than academics.... yes the grades and SAT scores count and count alot.... however, I think kids also need to have (for those with a French background) that "je ne sais quoi".....
If you don't have it then you aren't getting in.
This is why those interviews are so important...

Third.... the Citadel may be a great alternative for the right kid who didn't make it into WP.... remember the goal is to become an office in the US Army. Also, prestige is not everything.... the right college for any kid is one who "fits" that student. It matters not so much what school you attend but what you do with it after you get there....while I can't imagine a kid turning down an appointment to WP to attend the Citadel.... there may be some out there who find it is a better fit for them.
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Just_A_Mom said:
how long does it take an officer to make $50,000/year???

When one joins the military it isnt (or it shouldnt be) for the benefits and money so it shouldnt matter. When your risking your life for something it should never be for the money. But... if you complete jump school and ranger school along with a few others you could be making 50k by captain in a few years (talking from an army perspective)
Get up on Soapbox:
JAM, You’re 100% right. As most of you forum regulars realize by now, it is extremely competitive to get into the SAs. The admissions departments do a fantastic job of ensuring that every single candidate accepted has the academic ability to graduate. One of the BGO’s (and their counterparts for the other academies) primary job is to ensure that the candidates themselves really want to be there. The majority of the 20% or so who quit do so because they were there for the wrong reasons, many of those because either they or their parents thought it was a “free education”. Remember, the reason to go to a SA is to serve one’s country.

I can think of many experiences throughout my career, from being a scared s***less squad leader sitting in a rice paddy in the monsoon season in the Mekong Delta surrounded by VC knowing that the weather was too bad for our helo recovery and that we would either have to spend another night in the jungle or try to fight our way through the VC to the nearest river bank and hope the boats could get to us, to trying to get a helo aboard a small pitching deck in the North Atlantic at night to get a critical medevac. I loved my Chief to a fault, but if he had looked over at me that night in the jungle and said, “Well, Ensign, at least you got a “free education””, I would have probably killed him on the spot and gotten away with justifiable homicide. However, he died later from the Agent Orange he was sitting in that night, serving his country.

At the risk of sounding melodramatic, I am going to be melodramatic. We all say our generation was the greatest and that we had the roughest plebe years, the toughest wars, and the deepest snows to wade through to get to school; however, as a parent of a SA grad, let me tell you, it ain’t so. There are satellite phones now in addition to the email system which stays up during war. You will know what your SA grad is up to. For us old vets, remember the watered down letters we wrote to mom and dad? Trust me, in the heat of today’s battle, phone calls can get pretty intense. So on the evening of March 19, 2003 when watching CNN’s Kira Phillips announcing the news from the flight deck of the Abraham Lincoln and that the first Navy carrier flight of the war is about to launch, you know it’s your son. An hour or so later when every SAM and antiaircraft site in Baghdad lights off, it confirms that the Iraqis were also watching CNN. Sitting through that, knowing that your son is the focus of their attention, brings on a whole new meaning to “free education” and service to your country. A week or so later, you wake up on Sunday morning to see half the remaining Iraqi army shooting into the banks of the Euphrates river in Baghdad. The CNN announcers state that a US plane was shot down and the Iraqis saw two parachutes. You know that your son was over Baghdad at daylight that morning in a two seat jet. Of course, modern technology prevails. Right in the middle of the sermon, my cell phone rings. “Hi dad. Saw the news. It wasn’t me. Gotta go debrief. Bye.” I’ve another 50 or so phone calls and emails, just as detailed, I could share. Pictures of his plane with holes in it. The night his good friend, they were winged together and in each others weddings, relieved him on station and when returning to the boat on the same route, was shot down by a Patriot missile. He left a wife and three kids. Heck, during that month we probably would both have ripped anyone’s head off who suggested that he had a “free education.” The service academies are about service to our country and this is what service is all about. Thank God, kids are born stupid and some of that continues into early adulthood so they think most of the above type events are “fun” and “cool”. Now I can sleep well at night knowing that he is just a test pilot and is going out daily and pushing some new type jet to the edge of, and beyond, its contracted envelopes. His little brother’s corporate salary is nearly three times his older brother’s.

So, bottom line, in the interest of personal safety, it is probably not a good idea, and rightfully so, to mention “free education” around most Academy grads. The above incidents are from a lone graduate. There are many thousands more. Go to Walter Reed and listen to some of them. These kids, and they are still kids, are our true heroes. Nothing was ever given to them. They earned, and continue to earn, every single penny of it.

(OBTW, as a BGO, when I’m sure that the parents are heavy into the “free education” mode, I break form and get personal, relating some of the above incidents. It works like a charm. Several “gung ho” candidates haven’t even bothered to complete their applications)
Step down off soapbox
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JAM, In retrospect, I'm going to have to qualify my above statement. I have no clue whether you were 100% right or not since I have no idea what "je ne sais quoi" means. If it means "I just want to serve my country and be the best fighter pilot in the Navy, Sir!"-Maverick (Top Gun), then you are 100% correct. However, since it's French, I somehow doubt that is what it means.
Back to the thread. I have served with outstanding officers from both the Citadel and VMI and also worked with them in the civilian sector. I'm sure their programs prepare the cadets for military careers. At the risk of sounding like I'm agreeing with Whistle Pig, my only running joke with them is that I couldn't imagine having to pay someone to provide me with a plebe year.
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LOL.... You are probably right... Just ask my kids they will not hesitate to tell you that I am NEVER 100% right..............they would put me in the 50% range on a good day!
But, I digress....."je ne sais quoi" literally translated means "I don't know what" .... It is that "thing" that someone (or something) has that you cannot adequately describe but you just know is there. Sort of like when a kid says "I just want to serve my country and be the best fighter pilot in the Navy".... he doesn't just say it but it oozes from his pores (not literally of course!). Some kids have it and some kids don't.

It would be that part of a prosepctive that you just can't put on the resume.
Maybe you could think of it like having 10 extra lottery tickets in the drawing:thumb:
Just_A_Mom said:
it but it oozes from his pores (not literally of course!). Some kids have it and some kids don't.

LOL yep, dodmerb would have a big problem with oozing pores. I totally agree that SA's are not a free education. I think my son is currently riding out a typhoon on his ship at the moment & would agree a whole lot. (I'm not worried LFWBDad ;) ) While not all kids can get into SA's, if they are made to follow the military lifestyle, serve their country & get an education, The Citadel is a pretty good match. A REALLY good one if they want Army. That program is the strongest there. Compared to what I paid for older son's college, The Citadel is far less costly. My younger son, did not get an ROTC scholarship for The Citadel but they offered up some good scholarship dollars from other sources that applicants don't even have to apply for. They take care of the paper work on that end. In researching the ROTC scholarships for The Citadel, the numbers read that second year kids almost always get the 3 year ROTC scholarship there. Ok. Here I sit in state so I guess thats easy for me to say.... Out of state kids sometimes get a full ride there though. I can honestly say that if my son hadn't gotten his appointment to USMMA, he'd be at The Citadel now in NROTC. Its a good plan B school. I'm sure VMI is as well. I just don't know that much about it.
Citadel 2012

My youngest son is in the application process for the Fall of 2012. He is interested in a military college expreience and eventually wants to serve in the Marine Corps. This is totally his decision as I am not from a military family and have no personal military experience. He has applied to the USNA but his test scores are weak in english, Ok in math. He has a friend at the Citadel who was very positive about the school which resulted in our son applying early decision there for Fall of 2012. His impression was that he could gain exposure to all branches (except for Coast Guard) and have time to decide if that is really what he wants to do.

My question for the group: Must one attend one of the service academies to have a positive successful career as an officer in the Marines? Are non-service academy (say, from the Citadel) officers treated as "second class" officers?
Welcome ObsessiveDad. Congrats on having a dedicated son. I can give you only one opinion, so here goes:

#1 most importantly, be sure he does the Pre-Knob visit. Can't stress that enough. Secondly, Citadel kids have many many opportunities. They have one of the tighest Alumni networks around. Secondly, if your son chooses to go with his ROTC Commission at graduation, many will tell you that being an officer, no matter how one comes by it is an impressive feat. 'Second class' officers? Never heard of such. People who might hint that an ROTC officer is lesser quality than an officer out of a service academy should be kicked in the shins. :biggrin:
Many will tell you that being an officer, no matter how one comes by it is an impressive feat. 'Second class' officers? Never heard of such.

As seen in such ROTC officers as, Gen. Gordan R. Sullivan, Gen. Colin Powell, Adm George Dewey :thumb:
Correction on my son's year. He is applying for Fall of 2008 (as class of 2012).

Thanks for the response
Admiral William Fallon, Commander, US Central Command (in charge of all Middle East forces) Villanova, ROTC, 1967. He was short list for CNO last round.
From Villanova's web site. They claim:

"A testament to this is that Villanova NROTC has produced more Navy Admirals and Marine Corps Generals than any other institution but the U.S. Naval Academy."

Running neck to neck - Nuff said. :thumb: My ROTC kids ROCK