Wednesday, 6 November 2013

What to wear to a uni interview

Congratulations! A university has looked at your grades, statement and references, and now wants to meet you. You've scrambled around researching careers, getting work experience and maybe even sitting admissions tests, and it's paid off. The interview is, for some people, the highest hurdle in the competition for a place on a highly competitive course. It triggers sleepless nights, more frantic research, and sitting mock interviews with friends and teachers. It's a very important event... so you want to look respectable, don't you?

Rules for dressing for an interview

Of course there are obvious ones, like looking clean and trying to stand up straight, but here are seven non-negotiable rules that you must adhere to. Some of them are trickier than they sound. (Though all of my advice in this post is geared towards people interviewing for courses like sciences, healthcare and humanities.)

Knee-length skirt
If a skirt or dress that's caught your eye is even remotely approaching mid-thigh length, don't even think about it. Put it down and turn away.

Sensible shoes
'Sensible' means closed-toe shoes with no obvious platform or any kind of heel you could stab a person with. If you really want to wear heels but need to walk in between a train station and the uni campus, maybe wear flats for the journey.

No boobs
Cleavage should be strictly under cover - people need to earn that stuff, you know. If you've got a top or dress with a low neckline, try layering a blouse underneath it to cover up a little.

Wear a set
You need to know exactly what your doing with textures and colours if you dare to stray from a set suit. It is pretty much impossible to match black with black or grey with grey or navy with navy if you've got, say, a blazer already but no skirt or trousers. It's probably a lot easier to just buy a new set. The easiest way to not wear a set is to go a different colour and a different texture, but be careful with this.

You can't overdress
At a uni interview you need to look like you mean srs bsns. This is the next few years of your life on the line, and probably your life's career too. In a professional setting you can't actually look that out of place even in a full suit.

Be comfortable
At your interview, your mind may or may not be in complete meltdown, but if you're physically uncomfortable due to your clothes, you'll stand little chance of coming across as comfortable and relaxed. So don't make compromises - buy only clothing and shoes that fit you, and make you look good, so you can feel good and make the best impression you can.

Be boring
I know it can be so, so hard to restrain your creativity and play it safe, even though you want to look like the interesting person you are. But the best approach is to look ordinary and boring, only to reveal yourself as a stunning candidate when you get talking with your interviewer. Once you get on your course, perhaps you can afford to dress how to you want a little more.

I know I said to be boring, but with some carefully chosen accessories, you can sneakily show elements of your personality which may even be a useful topic of conversation. If your a musician, maybe you could wear a treble clef necklace. Or you could wear a brooch to show your support of a charity you volunteer for or donate to. But be sensible and subtle.

 Matalan: £42
skirt | top | blazer

 New Look: £43
dress | blazer

Next: £108
blazer | top | skirt

Shopping tips

Bring a companion
Someone sensible and reserved would be ideal, so you have someone to keep you down to earth and focussed on finding something appropriate for the occasion. It's really helpful for someone to check whether the seams are okay and the fabric's lying right, because even with mirrors, you can't really see your own back very well.

Keep your receipts
It's a lot easier to just buy all the main things from one shop, but if you do have to do some intershop matching, keep receipts handy in case you find something that's better than what you already have.

Always try stuff on
This is an absolute must when it comes to tailoring. Sizes vary hugely across different shops and it can be hard to find a jacket that fits you just right, but it's worth the trouble. When matching things, look at the fabrics under bright light to ensure the colours and textures work together.


  1. Interesting. When I applied for Uni the first time I was studying Textiles and we all dressed fairly casual, I thought it was the norm! I cancelled my application in the end but I'm applying for Nursing courses this year, I wonder if it will be any different? I can't afford to splash out on a new smart outfit though, I've had a job for three years and I've grown out the suit I bought for the interview (okay I got a little fat). xo

    1. Definitely definitely wear something smart. I don't know how it is for subjects like art or textiles or fashion and things like that, but for something like nursing I'd imagine it'd have to be a suit.
      At Matalan you can pick up a dress for about £15 and a jacket for about £15. I'd imagine this would be the cheapest option as separates can get expensive.

  2. I remember my current job interview - I just went wearing jeans and flannel shirt. Nobody paid attention on my blue/green hair but that's one of the pros being a programmer - nobody cares how you look.

    1. I wasn't sure until recently that I wanted to go into a service job - dentistry - but now I have, I'm just going to have to suck it up and go buy some smart clothes xD

  3. I had interviews last year for my Art Foundation and will be having interviews again this year for a degree course (fashion); I always found it quite relaxed. I just wore a smart dress and my blazer or a cardigan. One of my friends who was applying for teacher training at uni last year had interviews as well, and basically wore the same thing as I did.
    I think one thing that would be a no is light coloured jeans. Most uni courses don't have interviews though, it seems to be predominately medical, teaching and art based ones.

    1. You're right, most people luckily don't have to go through the horrible ordeal of an interview for uni, and I'm so jealous!
      Though your comment has made me go back and clarify my target audience for this post, so thank you for that ^_^ The advice here really applies to aspiring doctors, dentists and vets, as well as people applying for some of the fancier unis, like Oxbridge and the Russell Group places, because they often interview too. Though it's statistically very unlikely that any frequent readers of this blog will fall in this group, I wrote it to remind myself of what I'm looking for (still haven't got anything to wear for an interview in 2 weeks...) and to help passers-by who might stumble across this page.

  4. I love this; already done with uni but I like to dress formal for work too; it's so empowering.
    Afeeyah xo

    New post ~


Thank you ♥

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...