CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Colleges across the Lowcountry are gearing up for the start of the new school year and Wednesday, News 2 heard from Citadel cadets as the college prepares for the class of 2026.

The Citadel is currently making its final preparations for Matriculation Day this Saturday, where the institution will welcome nearly 800 cadet-recruits to begin their college journey.

“Your first day is going to be probably one of the most impactful days you will have when coming to The Citadel,” South Carolina Corps of Cadets public affairs officer Eric Wilson said.

The South Carolina Corps of Cadets is preparing to usher in the class of 2026 on Matriculation Day.

“They will arrive to our alumni center where they will receive their company assignments,” Wilson said. “From there, they will be directed onto campus where cadets will be awaiting to direct them to the correct battalion. From there, they will enter barracks and they will begin their new cadet careers.”

It’s a big day for cadets. Wilson says his matriculation in 2019 was a day that changed his life.

“That day just emanated a new beginning for me,” he said. “Not only in a new environment with a different culture, but with new people that I’ve never met before, which for some people could be scary. But I found it to be a new opportunity to grow.”

The class of 2026 is one of the largest ever, with cadet-recruits coming from 38 states and 10 different countries.

“To know that we’re having one of the largest incoming classes The Citadel has seen,” Wilson said, “it really means that we’re doing a great job of promoting our idea of honor, duty and respect.”

Wilson’s biggest piece of advice for the incoming students, trust each other.

“Look to your left and right and realize that those are the people that are going to help you succeed,” he said. “Not only in the first week, which is challenging, but also for the first semester, then the second semester. Then, next thing you know you’re moving on to your sophomore year and your junior year, and then next thing you know, your senior year.”

Following Matriculation Day, the Oath Ceremony for the class of 2026 will be held on Monday, August 16 at 5:30 p.m.