What should I wear to a university interview?

Does it matter what I wear to a university interview?

The chances are that the tutors interviewing you at Oxford and Cambridge will be more interested in what you say than how you dress. They are also very used to seeing students rock up to lectures in a motley array of get-ups. However, the reality is that we all make subconscious judgments about people we meet based upon appearance. Your outfit is very unlikely to win you a place at Oxbridge but there is a small chance that it could have a negative impact on your chances if it's not appropriate. So before you decide to impress the tutors with your iron man t-shirt, just ask yourself whether you are prepared to risk a place at Oxbridge for the sake of making a bit of an effort. At the same time, it's important for you to feel comfortable in what you are wearing as that should help you settle into the interview spirit. With that in mind, smart but not exceptionally formal is what most applicants opt for and, in our experience, is the way to go for a bachelor's interview. However, business smart is recommended for higher degrees, mature students (particularly MBA candidates) and medical students.

How should men dress for a university interview?

We recommend that men wear a pressed long sleeve shirt and pressed trousers and smart (eg black leather) shoes. A tie and a suit jacket should be worn for older candidates, eg those attending for higher degrees and medical students, and should be considered for younger candidates who feel comfortable in them. One option is to take a tie and jacket with you and evaluate on the day whether you feel overdressed, with the option of leaving them in your bag if not required. Piercings should be removed, tattoos should be covered and facial hair should be kept to a minimum.

How should women dress for a university interview?

For women, the options are a bit more varied. A dress or a blouse/shirt with a skirt or trousers are all fine. However, we recommend that they should be pressed, smart in nature and should not show off much skin, especially cleavage. A smart jacket on top of the blouse should be worn by older candidates, eg. those attending for a master's degree or medical students, but is optional for younger candidates. Makeup, jewelry and hair accessories, if worn, should be kept simple and discrete.

Helpful tips

Take a spare outfit with you in your bag just in case of disasters.