You’ve heard the phrase “dress to impress” when it comes to college interviews. But how does that look when the conversation takes place online? In this guide, we’ll walk you through the college interview attire that works well during a virtual interview.
To learn what to wear to a college interview, read on.
Why Your College Interview Attire Matters
Before discussing how to dress for a college interview, let’s discuss three reasons why your clothing matters.
Like your body language and facial expressions, the way you dress is a form of non-verbal communication. By dressing well, you’ll show the interviewer that you take the opportunity seriously, respect their time and really want a spot in the incoming class.
Since visual elements play a large role in first impressions, you can be sure the interviewer is taking note of your attire. This is especially true during a virtual college interview since the distance makes other elements of connection impossible—you can’t shake hands, for example.
Dressing well is not just for the interviewer’s benefit. A professional and clean look helps you put your best foot forward. The way we dress affects how we feel and act, according to social psychology research. Studies have found that formal attire can help the wearer feel more confident and think in a more long-term mindset.
You’re going up against other candidates in this competitive process, and an unkempt appearance will set you apart for all the wrong reasons. So take the time to select the perfect ensemble using the tips below.
Virtual College Interview: What to Wear
Here’s an important virtual college interview tip: dress the same way you would if the interview took place in person.
Here’s what to wear to a college interview:
- Clean, conservative and well-pressed clothing
- A modest collared shirt
- Dress pants or slacks with a belt
- Knee-length or longer skirts and dresses
- Neutral colors
- Closed-toed shoes
Determining how to dress for a college interview begins with knowing the dress code.
Before the interview, do some research to determine the dress code. You can talk to current students, read the university’s online guide or speak with your college counselor for an idea.
Confused about what to wear for your college interview? Explore the range of styling options below to find one that will leave you looking polished and clean.
Wear a long-sleeve button-down shirt tucked into neatly pressed khaki pants. Details like a simple wristwatch and belt help make you look more put together. Close-toed dress shoes or loafers complete the look. Even though the shoes likely won’t be seen, it’s important to dress well from head to toe.
Another option is to wear a tie over your long sleeve shirt. Pair it with dress slacks or khakis as well.
Styling tip: Choose a tie with a solid pattern since busy prints can come across as distorted and distracting on a video call.
A button-down shirt with no tie and a jacket is another alternative. Rather than wearing a suit jacket, opt for a sports jacket. This is a less structured garment that offers a comfortable yet polished look. Or opt for a blazer which is a bit more structured but still less formal than a suit jacket.
For a business professional look:
If your interview requires business professional clothing, a full suit and tie are in order. Typically, neutral colors—navy, black, and grey—are preferred. Make sure the suit fits well, especially in the upper area. You don’t want to look like you’re squeezed into a tight suit or drowning in an oversize jacket.
Deciding what to wear to a college interview can be difficult with so many options. Pants, skirts, and dresses are all on the table. Read on to find an option that suits your style and makes you feel comfortable.
A crisp, solid-colored oxford shirt is a timeless choice. Try multiple shirts to find one that allows for movement and can be buttoned up for a modest look. Pair the look with dress pants and a pair of flats for a comfortable and sleek look.
Styling tip: If you opt for a white or light-colored shirt, ensure that the fabric is opaque, not sheer.
You can also opt for a high neck blouse or turtleneck. Layer a cardigan over your button-down shirt or blouse to add another texture or color to the look. For bottoms, a knee-length pencil skirt makes a great impression.
Alternatively, you can opt for a dress. Avoid busy prints that may look odd or pull attention away from you during a video call. Instead, opt for a structured dress with sleeves (short or long) and a neckline that does not plunge. You can pair the dress with a cardigan as well.
For a business professional look:
Elevate your college interview attire with a pants suit or skirt suit. This includes a neutral-colored blazer on top and a matching knee-length skirt or pair of dress pants. The top and bottom don’t necessarily have to be the same color, but they should complement each other well. While your shoes will likely remain off-camera, a pair of sensible heels is a great option for this ensemble.
How to Prepare For Your Virtual College Interview
Selecting the right wardrobe is just one element of interview preparation. To truly make a great impression, you need to practice for the big day. The best way to improve your interview skills is with InterviewFocus.
The unique interview software platform provides you with the detailed feedback you need to enhance your skills. Learn what filler words you use in your conversation, how your body language comes across on screen, how often you make eye contact and so much more.
You only have one shot to wow the interviewer. Thanks to InterviewFocus, you have lots of chances to improve before the big day. Start your journey to successful interviews today!