I know that you have a lot on your plate, that you have to worry about grades, extracurricular activities, SATs, and essays, to name a few things. I also know that picking out college interview outfits is not on the top of your list of concerns. Still, I know many students who let this slide, and then ended up freaking out the night before the interview. In the hope that this does not happen to you, I have put together a head-to-toe guide of how to present yourself in your interview.
Girls, if you wear makeup, make sure that it is natural and minimal. Avoid heavy eye makeup and excessive bronzer.
Do not wear too much jewelry. No jewelry is necessary, but girls may wear a pair of stud earrings, such as pearls, and a simple necklace and watch. For boys, a watch is all you need. If you have any piercings besides in the ears, take out the earrings before the interview.
Make sure that your hair is combed and neat. If you are having a bad hair day, do not freak out. Girls, just put your hair in a neat bun, or half up and half down. Also, note to both boys and girls: avoid elaborate hairstyles, too much hair gel, or hair colors that do not appear in nature!
Boys should make sure that they are clean-shaven. While your friends might like your handlebar moustache, admissions officers probably will not.
These are basic guidelines, which in some cases you can modify slightly. In general, you can be somewhat more casual in alumni or student interviews than you can be during interviews with admissions officers. Also, if you are interviewing for an alternative liberal arts college like Hampshire, you can be a little more lax than you would be for more traditional schools. For interviews with undergraduate business schools like Wharton, you should veer towards the more formal side. However, the following guidelines work for any interview, whether with a student, alumni, or admissions officer, at a hippy-dippy liberal arts school or a more stuffy business program.
In general, business casual is the name of the game. For girls, this means a blouse, twinset, or tailored sweater on top, and slacks or a tailored skirt that reaches the knees or below on bottom. For boys, this means a button down shirt and slacks. Boys may also add a sweater vest or nice sweater if they would like.
Black, white, navy, or neutral colors are the best. Make sure that everything is clean and ironed. The focus should be on you, not on your clothes! Also, make sure everything fits well. No saggy pants or anything too tight! Finally, not to state the obvious, but avoid showing too much skin. Boys, this means you too. (Girlsm while on Gossip Girl it might be okay to show tons of cleavage for a Yale interview. In real life, this does not fly.)
For girls, wear black or neutral colored, clean shoes. Loafers or small heels work well. Avoid shoes that make it hard to walk. You do not want to be remembered as the girl who stumbled and tripped!
For boys, dress shoes or loafers are perfect.
Now that dressing for your interviews is a no-brainer, it is time to start working on what you are going to say! Stay tuned for more on that next week.