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What Should I Wear to my Oxbridge Interviews?

What to wear to your Oxbridge interviews is a question we’ve been asked year in year out, so we thought we’d collate our best advice all into the one place for an easy, one stop shop to answer any questions you may have on dressing for interviews.

The key to choosing what to wear to your interviews is to pick something that makes you feel comfortable as well as putting you into an interview frame of mind. This isn’t a job interview, so suits aren’t mandatory. Think about dressing smart, but not too smart; a good rule of thumb we like to use is to imagine what you would wear to lunch with your grandma and go with that.

Although strict formal wear isn’t necessary, it is important that you show respect to the interview process through your clothes: you can wear a jumper, but perhaps not a hoodie; you can wear a T-shirt, but not a T-shirt with a slogan on it. In particular, rude or comedic slogans on clothing tend not to go down very well at all. Remember that your interviewer will likely be of a different generation, so be respectful.


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Interviews being online again this year does, of course, add a little flexibility to what you can wear. Do a test-run with your computer and camera to see what is and isn’t in range of the screen. If the interviewer cannot see your bottom half at all, then you’ve got a little more leeway in dressing comfortably - perhaps some tracksuits or a pair of slippers if that makes you more comfortable? Remember though that slouchy isn’t always the way to success, even if the interviewer can’t see it - think also about what’s going to put you in the mood to be academically switched on. Don’t wear pyjamas on your bottom half if you think that will make you feel sleepy!

Ultimately, it’s your brain they’re most interested in at the end of the day. You just need to focus on that, and make sure that the way you’ve dressed isn’t going to distract the interviewers from all the interesting and intelligent points you are making. Which brings us onto the following additional points:

Jewellery: It’s a good idea to take off any large or clunky jewellery before you start the interview - not only might any jangling cause unnecessary sound interference over your video call, but it might also distract your interviewers visually. You really don’t want your future tutor to be blinded by your diamonds…

Long hair: If your hair is on the longer side (and by this we really mean anything beyond chin length) and you have a tendency to fiddle with your hair - particularly when you are nervous - please do tie it up or clip it back if at all possible. Any consistent twirling, flicking, brushing, or smoothing down is likely to become quite irritating and can lead to your interviewer thinking that you aren’t fully confident in what you’re saying.

Covering up: Try your best to dress relatively modestly. This may not be quite as pertinent an issue now that interviews are online (gone for now are the problems of sinking into a much lower chair than anticipated in your favourite mid-length skirt and entering into a world of anxiety!) but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make sure everything’s properly covered up. We’re not saying that you need to wear a full shirt and jacket, but try to think about how you want to look if you need to lean over to write something down.

Having said all of this, don’t wear something that you feel just isn’t you. The aim of the interview is to show the interviewer who you are, what you know, and what you love. But equally, you want to show off your ambition to learn and your respect for the university - just make sure that your clothes reflect this.

Knowing what to wear for your Oxford or Cambridge 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.


Read more free Oxbridge interview resources here

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Want to chat further about interviews or about our mock interview packages? Call us on +44 (0) 20 7499 2394, or email [email protected], and one of our Oxbridge-graduate team members will be happy to chat with you.

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The interviews for Oxford and Cambridge are, arguably, the most important part of your application. The package gives candidates four subject-specific mock interviews, designed to recreate the real interview environment, and help candidates gain confidence in the process of how to get into Oxford or Cambridge.

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