|THE CITADEL | PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE||
Essentials and amenities
by Major General John S. Grinalds
U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.)
President, The Citadel
Colleges compete keenly for the best high school students and, according to the New York Times, some institutions are adding unconventional facilities in an attempt to lure top prospects to their campuses. These schools boast of such on-campus amenities as water parks, large-screen theaters or, at one West Coast university, a Jacuzzi that can hold 53 people.
In cases where prospective students factor such creature comforts into their college choice, The Citadel does not stand a chance.
Critics of this trend question whether such facilities are worth the higher student fees, but that is an issue for those colleges to debate. In a highly competitive market, these institutions are simply responding to consumers who seek the most for their money. For some, the best value may include such options as theater-style TVs or latte bars in residence halls. Since there are many places where one can get an excellent education, the unique advantages a given campus offers can be the deciding factor in that complex college decision-making process.
What draws prospective students to The Citadel?
Surveys tell us that The Citadel appeals to high school seniors because of our military-style education, academic reputation and unique college experience. With our modest accommodations and numerous rules, lifestyle perks are not part of the equation. We tend to attract high school graduates who enjoy challenge and believe that The Citadel experience will better equip them to handle challenges in the future. Our classic military education has prevailed for more than 160 years because it leads to success after graduation. The achievements of our alumni continue to be one of our strongest marketing points.
In a world where character often seems to be marginalized, living by an honor code is not the norm. Consequently, we have refined the way we teach incoming cadets about honor to help them succeed in an environment that does not tolerate lying, cheating or stealing, For the first time in recent history, members of the honor committee have developed a set of common lesson plans for honor classes so that all fourth class cadets receive the same instruction. On-line quizzes and periodic reviews in Citadel 101 help them apply principles to given situations. Company sergeants who work most closely with the fourth class during military training are the primary instructors, demonstrating that upper class cadets have a personal stake in the integrity of the system. Discussions about honorable behavior continue throughout the first semester in The Citadel 101 classes. Plans are being made to extend these conversations about the honor system to the upper classes.
The honor system is not something that can be taken for granted; it is a precious legacy that must be cultivated with each incoming class. Although the outside attraction of The Citadel may be its reputation or military-style education, the core of a Citadel education remains its honor system.
Without that, we are just another good college.
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