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Making a Good Impression at Your University Interview

So, you’ve applied to the university course that you’ve decided you want to study, and you’ve been invited for an interview - that’s great news! A university interview is a bit like a job interview; it’s a chance for admissions tutors to meet you in person, get to know you, and determine whether or not you are a good fit for the course. You will usually have a face-to-face interview where you’ll be asked some questions, like why you decided to apply for this particular course and what your career plans are, and there may be a group interview to take part in or you could be asked to write an essay or take a short test. You’ve spent some time researching the university and the course and perfecting your answers, but you know that first impressions matter a lot too. So, what should you wear to stand out?

Consider the University and the Course

When deciding what to wear for your interview, consider the university and the course to help you make the right outfit choices. If you’ve applied to study an MBA at a prestigious business school, for example, then you’re probably going to be expected to turn up to your interview in a smart suit. On the other hand, if it’s more of an informal chat for a social work undergraduate degree, smart-casual outfits will probably do just fine.

Ralph Lauren
Ralph Lauren

Be Polished and Presentable

Whatever you choose to wear, make sure that you are smart, polished, and presentable. That means don’t turn up in joggers and sports top. Whether it is a face-to-face or an online MBA interview, smart casual will work well for your interview at university, dark jeans and a shirt are a good combination. Make sure that your clothing is clean, pressed, and well-fitted as even the nicest clothes won’t make the best impression if they are creased up or don’t fit you very well. 


Consider Accessories

The accessories that you add can make or break your outfit. If you’re heading for an interview, consider what you can add to your outfit to give it a polished, smart finish and help you stand out from the other applicants at the same time. If you’re wearing a suit, for example, a nice pair of cufflinks can help you stand out, while a nice watch is a timeless, classic accessory to pair with any smart-casual outfit.

Hackett London
Hackett London

Practice Good Hygiene

It goes without saying that you should be clean and smelling fresh when you turn up to your interview. No matter how nice your outfit is, you can easily bring it down if your hair is greasy or you haven’t shaved in weeks. So, spend some time making yourself presentable; trim your beard or go clean-shaven and wash your hair, and consider booking an appointment with your barber before the interview if you’re in need of a trim, too.  

Standing Out

Just like going for a job interview, there are some things that you can do with your outfit to help you stand out and be memorable. This needs to be quite subtle but distinctive enough to make you stand out from the crowd, like wearing an interesting tie or unusual accessory that’s classy but different. This can make all the difference when it comes to giving admissions tutors something to identify you by apart from the rest of the crowd and can be very useful if you stand out in your interview for all the right reasons.

J Crew
J Crew

What to Avoid

When it comes to choosing your university interview outfit, there are a few things to avoid. Think about what you would avoid wearing for a job interview - no tracksuit bottoms, ripped jeans or graphic tees. You want to give a professional impression that shows tutors you are serious about your choice of course and are ready to start learning and training for your future career.  

Speak to Your Tutor

If you’re currently at college and preparing to go for a university interview, your personal tutor can be a great source of information when it comes to helping you make a good first impression. Your tutor will be familiar with many different universities and can help you get a better idea of what is expected from the university and course that you are interviewing for. You can also get more information from 'Uni Compare' who have gathered up all the key facts and stats you need to know about the various UK universities, such as Writtle College. Go through this with them and remember that they are there to help you get the most out of your university application and improve your chances of success, so don’t hesitate to ask their advice on your interview appearance if you’re unsure.

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