Skip to Main Content
by Vault Education Editors | June 23, 2009


The college interview: it's the one moment where you can show your true personality, and is the final step after countless hours of preparation you've put into perfecting your application. Just as you want your admissions essays to be as polished as possible, your appearance during the interview should be equally refined and thought-out.

Usually, college interviews are conducted with alumni in informal settings like a local coffee shop or sometimes even in the alumnus' home, so the dress requirement isn't nearly as strict as a professional job interview. You'll want to dress respectfully (so no sneakers, T-shirts or jeans) but you can still let your personality come through in your clothing choices. If your style is preppy and you're applying to Dartmouth, don't hesitate to pull out the tartan patterns and let your inner Blair Waldorf or Chuck Bass shine through.

For guys, some general fail-safe rules are to wear dress trousers in a dark hue. However, pressed chinos can also be dressed up with a blazer and work equally well. For colder weather, a sweater and shirt combination is classic and appropriate. A tie isn't necessary but can be used as an accent piece for an otherwise plain outfit. As for shoes, lace-up shoes are generally too formal--instead, opt for a pair of leather loafers in either black or brown.

Where the ladies are concerned, the emphasis is on a restrained respectability. A knee-length pencil skirt paired with a blouse and jacket is a refined and classic route. Wearing heels is advisable, and heeled boots are a strict no-no. Girls shouldn't wear too much jewelry--especially anything flashy or distracting.

Ultimately, the most important thing to wear to a college interview is your confidence and personality on your sleeve--though these should preferably be wrinkle-free and end an inch below your wrist.

-Posted by Adrien Field


Filed Under: Education|Grad School