What to wear for your grad school interview outfit (virtual, in-person and etiquette)

As a graduate school candidate, you’ve likely put in countless hours refining your education, qualifications and researching potential programs. However, prepping for the interview is a whole other beast, particularly when it comes to what to wear and how to dress for a graduate school interview.

It is best to wear formal clothes for your grad school interview outfit. Consider wearing dress pants, a nice long-sleeved and collared button-up shirt and keep the accessories to a minimum. You want to look professional as if you have already graduated into a professional environment.

It’s essential to dress professionally and tastefully, but how do you strike the right balance of putting your best foot forward while still staying true to your personal style?

For my graduate school interview with my PhD supervisor, I ensured that I wore a buttoned collared shirt and nice parents and dress shoes. Essentially, I dressed for the job that I wanted.

Many people will remember how you made them feel and not necessarily what you wore. Try not to do anything too outrageous throughout the interview including wearing anything that may make people remember you for all the wrong reasons.

This article will give you some guidelines on selecting the perfect outfit to wear to your graduate school interview, so you can focus on being your best self during the interview process.

With the right outfit, you can put your best foot forward with first impressions and show the admissions committee that you’re worthy of admission into their program.

What to wear to a grad school interview?

When it comes to dressing up for a grad school interview, it’s important to make a good first impression with your attire.

We all do it – we all make judgements based on first impressions and we want to make sure that the first impressions of you are positive and set the conversation off in a good way.

The safest bet is to opt for a suit or other business attire, but it also depends on the school’s culture and what you feel comfortable in.

If you want to wear pants, make sure it’s well-fitted and paired with a shirt with a collar. You may also wear a tie if you prefer.

A skirt is also a great option, paired with a blouse or a top, and completing it with a neat blazer or jacket.

Avoid wearing:

  • jeans,
  • sandals,
  • too much jewellery,
  • faded or worn clothes
  • sneakers
  • T-shirts or other casual attire

as they might not be suitable for the occasion.

If you prefer a more casual attire, an oxford shirt with a sweater can also work.

Why Your College Interview Attire Matters

Your college interview attire matters because first impressions are crucial.

The interviewer’s initial impression of you can significantly influence their perception of your abilities and character.

Dressing appropriately shows the interviewer that you take the interview seriously and respect the time and effort they’ve put into it.

Your attire should reflect professionalism and demonstrate an awareness of what that graduate course expects from its candidates, so dress as you would for a job interview.

It is also important to note that virtual interviews require the same level of dressing as in-person interviews.

Even though you’ll be sitting behind a computer screen, wearing professional attire will show the interviewer that you’re prepared and take the interview seriously.

With the right attire, you can boost your confidence, professionalism, and enthusiasm, making a lasting impression on the interviewer.

You want to be remembered for all of the right reasons – and your attire starts that of on the right foot.

But, how should you dress for a Zoom graduate school interview?

How should you dress for a Zoom graduate school interview?

When it comes to dressing for a Zoom interview, it’s essential to strike the right balance between professional attire and comfort.

Business casual is always a safe choice, meaning you should avoid the extremes of both casual and formal attire.

Remember to wear clothes that stand out against your background. If you have a dark background – a lighter formal attire will be better. On the other hand, if you have a white background Blacks, navy blues, and muted grey will work better.

A blouse or a blazer over a shirt is a good foundation, and you can pair them with either pants or a skirt, depending on your preference.

 f you feel more comfortable in jeans, then opt for a clean and pressed pair of dark wash jeans.

Remember that the interviewer will still expect you to look neat and presentable, regardless of whether you’re in person or on a video call.

Take some time to groom yourself, opt for clothing that fits you well and is flattering, and you should be confident in your appearance during the interview.

Should I wear makeup for a video virtual interview for grad school?

When deciding whether or not to wear makeup for a video interview, it is important to consider the industry and company culture.

If it is a more formal or conservative industry, such as finance or law, it may be more appropriate to wear makeup to look polished and professional.

However, if it is a creative field like marketing or design, it may be more acceptable to opt for a more natural look or skip makeup altogether.

It is important to feel comfortable and confident during the interview, so wearing makeup or not should be a personal choice. Regardless, it is important to ensure that the lighting and quality of the video will not be negatively impacted by any makeup choices.

What is Business Professional Attire

Business professional attire refers to the clothing typically worn in the corporate world. The attire ranges from traditional suits for men to skirts and dresses for women.

It is important to always present a professional image through attire, as it reflects on the company and the individual.

Neutral colors such as black, navy blue, and grey are commonly worn to maintain a professional look.

It is also important to groom oneself well, including having a neat and clean appearance, well-maintained hair, and minimal accessories.

Proper business professional attire not only enhances an individual’s appearance but also projects a sense of competence and confidence in the workplace.

What is Business Casual Attire

Business casual attire is somewhere between casual and formal clothing.

It is often required in professional settings such as workplaces or meetings where formal clothing isn’t appropriate but you still want to maintain a professional look.

Business casual outfits usually involve dress pants, skirts, or jeans paired with a blouse or sweater.

Women may also choose to wear a pencil skirt or a dress that falls just above or at the knee. Sandals can be worn with appropriate coverage of toes, although in some office settings it may be too casual.

 A business casual outfit often requires the balance of fit and appropriateness – not too tight, not too loose.

Wrapping up

This article is giving you many ideas that what may be suitable for your grad school interview outfit. However, it is important to dress cautiously and, if in doubt, air on the side of dressing more formal.

Importantly, you should wear what makes you most comfortable and balance that with the typical attire worn in the postgraduate environment.

First impressions really matter and many people will remember the first time they met you and how you made them feel.

Make sure that this first impression and feeling they have about you is a positive one.

The Author

Dr Andrew Stapleton has a Masters and PhD in Chemistry from the UK and Australia. He has many years of research experience and has worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Associate at a number of Universities. Although having secured funding for his own research, he left academia to help others with his YouTube channel all about the inner workings of academia and how to make it work for you.