If you have a private school interview coming up, congratulations! In the days leading up to the interview, many students wonder not only about what questions they might be asked, but also what to wear for the big day. While every school is different, most of the time, wearing a suit is not a requirement for your success. Looking tidy and professional goes a long way, and planning your clothing ahead of time will take some of the jitters out of your impending visit.
One often overlooked piece of advice is to dress comfortably. Think about the weather and the activities you'll be engaging in during the interview. Will there be a tour? And if so, how large is the campus? You don’t want to sweat in a wool jacket on a warm day, or trip in four-inch stilettos walking around campus.
While comfort is important, first impressions do mean a lot, so don’t consider your private school interview to be any normal day at school. Jeans and a t-shirt might convey that you don’t want to be there, and some formality in your appearance signals respect for meeting new people in a new community. A more formal look demonstrates professionalism and can help you feel more confident.
If you're still not sure what to wear, reach out to friends who may have interviewed at a private school or college before and get their opinion. You can also visit the school website and take a look at what students are wearing in campus photos. Better yet, call or email the admission office in advance ask what the school dress code is. At The Winchendon School, there is no formal uniform, but students are expected to look “business casual” as they attend classes. Here's some more information about The Winchendon dress code. If you have any question in your mind about what is appropriate to wear, simply ask. Most likely, you will be told to dress comfortably and to just be yourself!
You can keep elements of yourself to any polished look. If blazers and khakis aren’t normally your thing, opt for a dress or clean pants (non-jeans) that express who you are without coming across as untidy. A few signature pieces that indicate your style or personality are always welcome, like a fly fishing tie or a vibrant scarf. Style-pieces might even lead to a deeper conversation about who you really are, and you may find out you have something in common with your interviewer.
Bottom line: It’s always important to present yourself as ‘motivated’ and ‘goal-oriented” for your interview. Showing up to your interview clean and pulled together is a sign of respect to those taking the time to meet with you, and also demonstrates an interest in the school you are visiting. An admission officer is not looking to judge you by your appearance, but he or she does want to understand what your intentions are, whether you want to be there, and if they can envision you as part of the school culture. At The Winchendon School, the priority of the admissions staff is to recruit students who will add to the community in some way and to also be sure that their school community will in turn help admitted students to grow.
Ultimately, what you say and your overall personality conveys more than what you wear. Above all, be yourself, be confident in who you are, and remember to make the interview a two-way conversation - you’ll feel much more comfortable approaching the interview as a friendly meeting rather than an exam.