Q&A: What Should I Wear to My College Interview and Other Questions


What should I wear to a college interview?

I’m struggling with figuring out what to wear for a college admissions interview I have scheduled for next week. I know that people say not to go too over the top, but my interview is going to be inside at a medical office during the business day.  Should I wear a full suit?

I suggest business casual because it’s not too formal but IS professional and sets the right tone for an office location. With that in mind, you should ultimately wear what you’ll fill most comfortable in during the interview. You don’t want to be distracted thinking about or fidgeting with your wardrobe while trying to answer questions. You can Google “business casual” and get thousands of pages that lists exactly what wardrobe items are considered business casual. Here’s a quick list: dress slacks, a knee-length skirt (with hosiery), a blouse, button-down shirts (tie optional), sweaters, closed toe shoes. Wear natural looking make-up if you choose to wear any. This illustration from The Balance provides a good visual:


Do admissions officers verify the activities you list?

Is it common for an admissions officer to call you asking a question about the activities listed on your application?

I’ve never questioned an applicant’s activities to the point where I felt the need to call them to verify if they were real or not. With some of the more unusual or odd activities though, I’ve seen applicants include a link to their work or online profile in the personal statement or additional information section. As an application reader, I’ve clicked on links to streetwear websites, online art portfolios, TED talks given by the applicant, all because the applicant included the link somewhere in the essay or activities section of their application. So, if you want to list an extracurricular on your application that is pretty unusual, include a link to give the application reader some more insight.

How formal does the additional information section need to be on the common application?

Is this section supposed to be used as an additional essay? I’m trying to describe some medical issues I’ve had but I’m not sure if I should structure it as an academic style essay or use it as an area to do more of a bullet-style list. What are your thoughts?

Stick to 3-4 sentences for the information you want to include in the additional information section. You should only really use this space to clarify the medical issues you had and how it affected your grades or test scores or your capabilities in general, and not as an additional personal statement.

In fact, I recommend most people leave it blank unless they have an extenuating circumstance to report like: an illness that caused you to miss school, a medical condition that affects your work or requires you to be in a certain area, an event (like a death in the family) that affected your grades, etc. Most admissions officers I know will just scan over it (i.e. not read) if it contains info like “why choose me” or “why am I applying”.

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