What to wear to your Oxbridge interviews is a question we’ve been asked year in year out.
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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.
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