The question of what to wear on campus visits seems to stress students and parents alike. While there are some campuses that have specific dress codes (such as West Point or Clearwater Christian College), most colleges and universities simply expect students to look presentable. You don’t have to get all gussied up, but don’t show in sweats and expect to impress.
Good Rules of Thumb
- Comfortable shoes are a must. If you wouldn’t walk two miles or stand for three hours in your footwear of choice, choose again.
- Don’t be a billboard. Consider any logos, slogans, or intense images your clothes advertise. Do they represent who you are? If not, leave ‘em at home.
- Keep clean. No need to freak over a minor coffee spill before an interview, but if you're wrinkled and smelly after a 12-hour minivan ride, a change into fresh clothes is wise.
- Nothing too tight or too revealing. This goes for both sexes. Strapless is unacceptable for females; sleeveless is unacceptable for males.
- Don't fidget or flake. Keep hair manageable and make-up reasonable. Futzing with your bangs or putzing with your lipgloss distracts interviewers.
Always consider the climate of the campus as you’re packing for your trip. If it’s winter in Minnesota, bring your boots. Checking out Hawaii Pacific University? Flip-flops won’t be frowned upon. (If you work with Collegocity to plan a customized itinerary, don't worry--we always provide weather information and a packing list so you can't go wrong.)
Here’s our Goldilocks version of appropriate campus visit attire, with some assistance from Selena Gomez & Michael B. Jordan.
Remember, it’s most important to feel both comfortable and like yourself while on a campus visit, which is always do-able while also looking presentable. And, provided there’s room in the suitcase, it’s fine to bring a nicer outfit for an interview or formal campus meeting that you can change into or out of as your visit moves along.
- Be comfortable yet appropriate.
- Think about the impression(s) your apparel might make on admissions staff.
- Pack lightly and wisely, especially for overnight visits.
- A comfortable underdressed student is going to make a better impression than an uncomfortable overdressed student.
- Check the weather beforehand and make sure your student packs for the climate(s) you’ll be visiting.
- Chances are good that the admissions reps interacting with your student will be closer in age to them than you; they don't expect starched collars or pressed slacks.
- If your institution has expectations (explicit or implicit) for how visitors should dress, communicate them clearly.
- Advise visitors of any seasonal or regional requirements (snow boots, long sleeves, etc.)
- Supply umbrellas and/or ponchos for visitors.
Still not sure if what you plan to wear is appropriate? Leave a comment below or drop us a line and we'll help you figure it out! We can also help you plan the perfect trip to go along with your perfect wardrobe.