If you are looking for a college that combines academic excellence, military discipline, and leadership development, you might want to consider The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina. The Citadel is one of the six senior military colleges in the United States and the only public institution.
The Citadel offers a unique educational experience that prepares its graduates for careers in the military, government, or the private sector. In this blog post, I will give you an overview of the history, admission process, tuition fees, current rankings, academic programs, military training, extra-curricular activities, and notable alumni of The Citadel.
Fascinating History of The Citadel
The Citadel was founded in 1842 as the South Carolina Military Academy to provide classical education and military training to young men. Military College of South Carolina was initially located in Marion Square, in the heart of Charleston, where it occupied a former arsenal. This military school played an essential role in the Civil War, as its cadets fired the first shots at the Union ship Star of the West, attempting to resupply Fort Sumter.
They also provided soldiers and officers for the Confederate Army and suffered heavy casualties during the war. After the war, The Citadel was briefly closed by the federal government but reopened in 1882 under Colonel John P. Thomas, a former Confederate officer. The Citadel moved to its current location on the banks of the Ashley River in 1922, where it expanded its campus and facilities.
The Military College of South Carolina faced another challenge during World War II when it was threatened with closure due to the shortage of male students. The Citadel survived by admitting female students for the first time as part of the war emergency program. However, The Citadel remained a predominantly male institution until 1995, when it admitted its first female cadet, Shannon Faulkner, after a long legal battle. Since then, The Citadel has continued to grow and diversify its student body while maintaining its core values of honor, duty, and respect.
The school is on our list of Top 4 Oldest Military Colleges in the United States & it’s among the top military colleges in the United States.
Admission Process – How to Join The Citadel
The admission process for The Citadel is competitive and selective, as the college seeks to enroll students who have the potential to succeed academically, militarily, and personally. The Military College of South Carolina accepts applications from high school seniors, college transfer students, veterans, and online students. The Citadel requires applicants to submit the following documents:
- A completed online application form
- Official high school or college transcripts
- SAT or ACT scores
- A personal statement
- A letter of recommendation
- A physical fitness assessment
- A medical examination
- A criminal background check
The Citadel also interviews prospective students, conducting them in-person or via phone or video calls. In the evaluation process, The Citadel meticulously assesses applicants, considering their academic performance, test scores, engagement in extracurricular activities, leadership potential, and character.
With a commitment to accessibility, The Citadel operates under a rolling admission policy. This means it welcomes applications year-round and promptly communicates admission decisions within a few weeks of receiving a complete application. For those eager to secure early admission, The Citadel extends early action and early decision options. Notably, The Citadel maintains an acceptance rate of approximately 75% and an enrollment rate of around 40%, ensuring a diverse and dynamic student body.
The tuition fees for The Citadel vary depending on the type of student and the program of study. The Citadel offers different tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state students, as well as for cadets and non-cadets. The Citadel also offers financial aid and scholarships to eligible students based on their academic merit, financial need, or military service. The following table shows the approximate tuition fees for The Citadel for the academic year 2023-2024:
|Student Type||Program||Tuition (per year)|
2024 Rankings of The Citadel – The Military College of South Carolina
The Citadel is widely recognized as one of the best colleges in the nation, especially for its military education and leadership development. The Citadel has received numerous accolades and awards from various publications and organizations, such as:
- #1 Public College in the South offering up to a master’s degree by U.S. News & World Report for 11 consecutive years (2024).
- #2 Best Regional University in the South by U.S. News & World Report (2024).
- #2 Best Undergraduate Teaching in the South by U.S. News & World Report (2024).
- #3 Best Value School in the South by U.S. News & World Report (2024).
- #4 Best College for Veterans in the South by U.S. News & World Report (2024).
- #8 Top Public School in the Nation by Forbes (2024).
- #25 Best College in America by Money (2024).
- #1 Best Online College in South Carolina by OnlineColleges.com (2024).
- #1 Best Online Master’s in Project Management Program in the Nation by Intelligent.com (2024).
- #1 Best Online Master’s in Intelligence and Security Studies Program in the Nation by Intelligent.com (2024).
Academic Programs Offered at The Citadel – The Military College of South Carolina
The Citadel – The Military College of South Carolina offers a wide range of academic programs for its students, covering various fields and disciplines. The school has 18 academic departments, divided into five schools: Business, Education, Engineering, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Science and Mathematics.
The Military College of South Carolina offers 38 bachelor’s degrees, 26 master’s degrees, 25 graduate certificates, and two educational specialist courses. The Citadel also offers online programs for students who wish to pursue their education at a distance. Their online programs include seven online graduate degrees, three online undergraduate degrees, and three online certificate programs. Some of the most popular and prestigious academic programs at The Citadel are:
- Business Administration
- Civil Engineering
- Criminal Justice
- Electrical Engineering
- Intelligence and Security Studies
- Mechanical Engineering
- Political Science
Military Training at The Citadel – The Military College of South Carolina
The Citadel is a military college providing military training and education alongside academic studies. The military program at The Citadel includes the South Carolina Corps of Cadets, one of the largest uniformed bodies in the U.S., consisting of approximately 2,300 students who live on campus and adhere to a strict military regimen.
All members of the Corps of Cadets must actively participate in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program, which readies them for commissioning into the U.S. Armed Forces upon graduation. The Citadel offers ROTC programs for the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force.
The Citadel’s military training encompasses physical fitness, drills, ceremonies, weapons training, leadership development, and military ethics. This training also instills a culture of honor, duty, and respect among cadets, who are bound by a code of conduct and an honor system. The overarching aim of The Citadel’s military training is to mold well-rounded and disciplined leaders primed to serve their country and community.
The Citadel is not all work and no play. The Citadel also offers a variety of extra-curricular activities for its students to enrich their college experience and enhance their personal and professional skills. The Citadel’s extra-curricular activities include:
The Citadel actively participates in 16 varsity sports at the NCAA Division I level within the Southern Conference. The Bulldogs represent The Citadel in the sporting arena, accompanied by their spirited mascot, Spike. The institution’s most popular sports encompass football, basketball, baseball, and wrestling. In addition, The Citadel offers a range of intramural and club sports, including rugby, soccer, golf, and sailing, catering to various student interests.
Clubs and Organizations
The Citadel boasts a diverse array of over 100 clubs and organizations, fostering a vibrant campus life. These cater to many interests and hobbies, providing a platform for students to engage and explore. Some noteworthy clubs and organizations include the Academic Honor Society, Chess Club, Debate Society, Drama Club, Engineering Club, French Club, Model United Nations, Photography Club, Robotics Club, and the Student Government Association.
Service and Volunteering
The Citadel actively encourages its students to contribute to their community and country through service and volunteering. The institution supports several service and volunteering programs, including the Krause Center for Leadership and Ethics, Citadel Heroes, Citadel Mentors Association, Citadel STEM Center, and Citadel Summer Camps. These initiatives exemplify The Citadel’s commitment to instilling a sense of civic responsibility and leadership in its students.
Cultural and International
Embracing diversity and inclusion, The Citadel proactively promotes cultural and international awareness among its student body. The institution maintains various programs and resources to support this endeavor, including the Office of Multicultural and International Student Services, Office of Study Abroad, International Studies Program, Citadel Diversity Council, and Citadel World Affairs Council, creating an enriching and globally-minded educational experience.
Notable Alumni of The Citadel Academy
The Citadel has produced many notable alumni who have made significant contributions to their fields and their society. The Citadel’s alumni include military leaders, politicians, business executives, educators, scientists, artists, and athletes. Some of the most famous and influential alumni of The Citadel are:
- Ernest F. Hollings (1922-2019), a former U.S. Senator and Governor of South Carolina, was a champion of environmental and fiscal issues.
- Robert Jordan (1948-2007) was a best-selling fantasy author who wrote the Wheel of Time series.
- Lu Parker (b. 1968) is a former Miss USA and a current news anchor for KTLA in Los Angeles.
- Randolph Bresnik (b. 1967), a NASA astronaut, has flown to space twice and performed four spacewalks.
- Pat Conroy (1945-2016) is a renowned novelist and memoirist who wrote The Prince of Tides, The Great Santini, and The Lords of Discipline, among others.
These are just some of the many notable alumni of The Citadel who have made their mark in various fields and professions. The Citadel is proud of its alumni network, which spans the globe and provides support and mentorship to current and future students.
The Citadel encompasses more than the definition of a college. It embodies a tradition, a vibrant community, and a profound way of life. It provides a rigorous and gratifying education that equips its students for leadership and service in any path they choose. Within the Citadel’s walls, students cultivate excellence academically, militarily, and personally, all the while forging enduring bonds of friendship and loyalty. At The Citadel, honor, duty, and respect aren’t mere words; they serve as guiding principles influencing every action and decision. It’s a place where students evolve into leaders, and leaders carve their names into the annals of legend.
If you are interested in learning more about The Citadel or applying to join its ranks, you can visit its official website or follow its social media accounts. You can also contact its admissions office or request more information.