What to wear for your Oxford or Cambridge interview is a really frequently asked question and one which has cropped up at every Interview Preparation Day that we have done so far, as well as on our Twitter feed.
The key to choosing what to wear is to pick something that makes you feel comfortable but also puts you in an interview frame of mind. It’s not a job interview, so suits are not mandatory. Think smart, but not too smart. Imagine what you’d wear to lunch with your grandma and go with that.
You do, however, need to show that you respect the interview process: you can wear jeans, but not ripped up jeans, you can wear a T-shirt, but not a T-shirt with a slogan on it. Rude or comedic slogans tend to not to go down very well. Remember that your interviewer might be of a different generation, so be respectful.
Truth be told, it’s your brain that they are most interested in – you just need to make sure that you are firing on all cylinders – and nothing is distracting the interviewer from all the intelligent things you are saying. Which brings us onto…
It’s a good idea to take off any big or clunky jewellery before you go into your interview. Not only might the jangling drown out what you’re saying, but it might also distract your interviewers. You really don’t want your future tutor to be blinded by the bling bling…
Ladies, and possibly gentlemen too, if you have a tendency to fiddle with your hair – particularly when you are nervous – please tie it up. Any repeated twirling, flicking, brushing or smoothing is likely to become quite irritating and may lead interviewers to believe that you are not fully confident in what you are saying.
Usually a female crime rather than a male crime, girls please dress modestly. The chair you sit in to be interviewed may be lower than what you’re used to – a result of students lounging and squirming in it for the best part of a century. Wear something that doesn’t make you more concerned about your hemline than your answers.
Having said all of this, don’t wear something that you feel just isn’t you. You want to go in and show your interviewer who you are, what you know and what you love, but also your ambition to learn and your respect for the university – just make sure your clothes reflect this.
Knowing what to wear for your Cambridge and Oxford interview can understandably be a worry but as long as you are presentable and have a professional appearance, you can focus on the things that matter – such as your answers.
If you would like some mock interview practice and a chance to take your interview outfit for a test drive, book a place onto our Interview Preparation Day in London for some final interview preparation before you face the real thing.