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University Interview Dress Code

The prospect of a university interview has left many a student fretting about what to wear. The problem is that what to wear for a university interview isn’t quite as obvious as what to wear for a job interview. After all, not everyone turning up for a university interview will be trussed up in a power suit.

What should I wear for a university interview?

First things first, it’s probably best not to rock up in a chewed up t-shirt and mucky trainers, with your jeans slung low enough to reveal your Homer Simpson underwear. To quote Dizzee Rascal, you need to “fix up, look sharp” for your university interview; don’t trundle in wearing stained trackie bottoms.

Think about what the interviewer will want to see: an upstanding citizen who will do their university proud. They want a keen and bright student, who will attend lectures, frequent the library and get stuck into university life, not someone who will spend three years watching endless repeats of Friends.

This doesn’t necessarily mean reaching for your best business attire: they also want to see a student, a young person, not a corporate clone. So what’s the best option? We’ll put our necks on the line and say you should aim at somewhere between smart-casual and formal, depending on the university and your course (medicine students tend to dress up smarter).

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Break it down for me…

For boys, it’s often a question of wearing a suit or not wearing a suit. Here’s the logic behind wearing a suit to a job interview: you want to look professional and capable, and you also want to show how you can fit in with the company, i.e. all the other people knocking about in suits. But here’s the thing about university: not many people attend lectures in suits. Therefore a possible downside to wearing a suit is that the interviewer might not be able to picture you amongst the student body.

If anything, the most important thing is that you feel comfortable and confident. If an itchy suit is going to make you spend the whole interview tugging at your collar, then opt for something more casual, such as a plain fine-knit jumper or shirt over some smart trousers and shoes.

Girls don’t have the suit dilemma, but figuring out what to wear can still be a nightmare. Again, pick what you feel most comfortable in: whether that’s trousers, a skirt or a dress. The word of the day is presentable, so avoid looking too scruffy.

Err on the conservative side when it comes to necklines and hemlines (there’s nothing worse than awkwardly trying to tug down your skirt), and keep that bra firmly tucked out of sight.

For both sexes, a tailored jacket is a useful thing to have, it sharpens up your look and, if you feel over dressed, it can be whipped off sharpish.

Ultimately, what you wear is not really going to make or break whether you get offered a university place. As long as you don’t turn up in your birthday suit or dressed as a Dalek, the interviewer will be far more interested in what you’re saying than what you’re wearing.