Best Attire for Your Medical School Interview

April 25, 2024
6 min read


Reviewed by:

Jonathan Preminger

Former Admissions Committee Member, Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine

Reviewed: 4/25/24

You are diligently preparing for your medical school interview, and now you have reached the stage where you’re panicking about what to wear for the big day. What you wear for your medical school interview and how you present yourself to medical school interviewers is important. 

You want to put your best foot forward and wear something that lets the interviewers know you are a professional who belongs in their medical school. In this blog, we will go over the best attire—for both women and men—to carry you through your medical school interview with poise and confidence while looking your absolute best.

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Why Your Attire Matters at Your Medical School Interview

Now that you've invested time in preparing for your medical school interview, from practicing questions to thorough research, let's not forget an equally important aspect: your attire. The way you dress, your choice of attire, and how you present yourself is critical for succeeding in your medical school interview. 

First impressions are a huge deal. Statistically, it is extremely hard to recover from a bad first impression, even if everything afterward goes smoothly. People will always remember you by the first thing they thought of you, so start off on the right foot by dressing your best to exude confidence and let your personality shine.

Young woman looking at clothes in a store

Women Attire for Virtual Interview

Choosing the right attire for a virtual interview is essential for making a strong impression. Here are some tips for women:

  • Business Attire: Wear professional business attire, such as a tailored suit or a formal dress. Opt for classic colors like black, navy, gray, or white.
  • Dress or Suit: A well-fitted dress or a skirt suit can be an excellent choice. Make sure the outfit is comfortable to sit in for an extended period.
  • Grooming: Pay attention to grooming. Style your hair neatly, apply natural and understated makeup if desired, and maintain clean and well-groomed nails.
  • Accessories: Keep accessories simple and elegant. Minimal jewelry and subdued colors can add a touch of sophistication without being distracting.
  • Colors and Patterns: Stick to neutral or muted colors and avoid bold or distracting patterns. Solid colors or subtle patterns are best for a professional look on camera.
  • Footwear: Wear professional footwear, even if it's not visible on camera. Comfortable yet professional shoes are a good choice.

Remember that projecting professionalism and confidence through your attire is crucial during a virtual interview. Dressing appropriately and being well-groomed will help you make a positive impression and convey your respect for the interview process and institution you are applying to.

Best Attire for Your Medical School Interview: Women

Women—to look your greatest for your medical school interview, we have put together the best interview attire from head to toe. Keep these tips in mind for your interview outfit, and you will look professional, smart, and polished.

Hair – Keep your hair clean and combed. Simple hairstyles are best because you do not want to worry about your hair during the interview, and you don’t want to fidget with it as you’re answering questions. You can wear it down and neatly parted, in a simple ponytail or bun, or half up. If you wear it up, keep the style simple, so avoid intricate plaits and braids. Make sure your hair is properly secured, so it doesn’t come undone, and bring extra hair ties, clips, and bobby pins just in case. Be mindful of hair products with strong scents and opt for fragrance-free or mildly fragranced products.

Makeup – A little bit goes a long way. Keep it easy and natural. Use neutral tones and colors. Avoid bright and rich colors, and don’t go for heavy, nighttime looks. Use makeup to enhance your natural features, and don’t go overboard with how much you put on. When you experiment with what makeup you will wear for your interview, be sure to see what the makeup looks like in different light settings. Makeup looks different in harsh, white light, in yellow light, and in natural sunlight outdoors. Choose the makeup that correctly matches your skin tone and blend well with a blending sponge to look natural. Makeup stylists can help you find the right shades for your skin tone, and they can teach you makeup application techniques like blending. You can even tell them you’re going for a professional look that’s meant for an interview, and they will help you choose the best products and finalize your look.

Suits – For your medical school interview, stick with a classic cut suit featuring darker, solid colors like navy blue, gray, and black. Darker colors are more conservative and professional, and since men will be wearing similar colors for their suits, you want to dress comparably in a professional setting. Skirt suits and pantsuits are both acceptable, so pick the one that makes you feel the most comfortable. Be sure your suit is dry-cleaned for the interview.

Shirts – Opt for a button-down shirt or a wrinkle-resistant blouse. Your top should be modest, not revealing, and in neutral, solid colors. Examples include white, off-whites and creams, beiges and tans, or soft blues and grays. Loud patterns and bright colors are off-putting and will detract from the business attire. Always tuck in your shirt; never leave it hanging below the bottom of your suit jacket. 

Skirts – If you are going to wear a skirt with your suit, then make sure the length is appropriate for the workplace. Modesty is preferred in a professional setting. Pair it with pantyhose in warm weather or black tights in cool weather to really tie the look together. Bare legs with your skirt are too casual, so go with the weather-appropriate pantyhose or tights.

Pants – Make sure your pants are hemmed properly to go with the shoes you’ll be wearing. If you’re wearing heels or flats, the length of your pants needs to be adjusted accordingly. Iron out any creases.

Shoes – Your shoes should have a closed toe and be comfortable. Classic colors and styles are best, but when in doubt, black shoes go with everything. There are a lot of flats that look professional, but if you choose to go with heels, avoid anything that’s too high. You’ll do a bit of walking around campus at your medical school interview, so you should think about comfort as well as professionalism.

Bags – It is recommended that your bag is of medium size–large enough to fit your portfolio folder, extra copies of your admissions resume and application, pens, papers and handouts you receive at the interview, as well as other essential personal items. Make sure your bag matches with or complements the rest of your attire, so skip the loud, clashing patterns and bags that have big logos on them.

Best Attire for Your Medical School Interview: Men

Men—to look your sharpest for your medical school interview, we have put together the best interview attire for you. Keep these tips in mind for your outfit, and you will look professional, smart, and dashing.

a man's hand reaching out for a handshake

Hair – Make sure your hair looks clean and kempt. If you use styling products like gel, wax, or pomade, apply them sparingly as you don’t want your hair to look greasy or matted down. Be mindful of products that have strong scents and stick with fragrance-free or mildly fragranced products.

Face – If you are clean-shaven, shave before the interview to minimize stubble. If you have facial hair, make sure it is clean, well-groomed, and neat. 

Suits – Your suit should be well-fitted with a classic cut. Stick to darker colors like navy blue, gray, and black. Your suit should be paired with a silk or silk-like tie with classic, muted patterns and tasteful colors. Be sure to get your suit dry-cleaned for your medical school interview.

Shirts – Choose a white, collared shirt. Tuck in your shirt; never leave it hanging below your suit. Make sure your shirt is free of wrinkles and fits properly.

Pants – Pants should be properly hemmed to the appropriate length based on your height and the height of your dress shoes. Iron out any creases.

Socks – Coordinate your dress socks with your suit and dress shoes, and go with darker colors. Your socks should not draw attention, so be sure that colors and patterns do not clash with the rest of your ensemble. 

Shoes – Be sure to polish your dress shoes and remove any scuff marks. If you have an old pair of dress shoes that still don’t look the greatest after polishing, invest in a new pair and break them in before the day of your medical school interview. Your dress shoes should be clean and comfortable.

Bags – It is recommended that you carry a briefcase to your medical school interview to hold your portfolio folder, extra copies of your admissions resume and application, pens, papers and handouts you receive at the interview, and other essential items. Briefcases should look contemporary and classy—you can’t go wrong with the chic brown or black leather briefcase.

Types of Attire to Avoid

It’s hard to come back from leaving a negative first impression on the interviewers. Even if you confidently answer every interview question, the first few seconds of meeting your interviewers will set the tone of the entire interview. In fact, interviewers will likely form their general opinions of you within the first few seconds of the meeting. So be sure to present your best self and avoid the following types of attire.

Don’t wear loud, trendy clothing. Aim for professionalism and conservatism in your appearance. Trends in fashion are subjective and quickly become outdated, so it’s better to stick with timeless, flattering styles.

Don’t try a fancy new hairdo. Your medical school interview is not the place to experiment with a new hairstyle. Stick with the hairstyles you know work best for your facial features. Simple and neat hairstyles are tried-and-true, and you won’t have to worry about fussing with unmanageable hair or maintaining a complicated updo on the day of your interview.

Don’t wear anything too revealing. Avoid skirts that are too short or blouses that are too low-cut. You can test this by sitting down and bending to reach something. If your skirt is higher than just above your knees, opt for something longer. If your blouse gapes open, pick a more modest top.

Don’t wear clothing with distracting logos. You want the interviewers to focus on you, not on the brands you’re wearing. Big logos can be very distracting and take the spotlight off your individuality. To make a lasting impression, make sure the interviewers have nowhere to look but your bright eyes and winning smile.

Don’t wear heels that are too high. You might do a bit of walking at your medical school interview, so heels should be one or two inches maximum. You can still rock a great pair of heels while being comfortable.

Don’t wear open-toed shoes. Some women’s high heels are open-toed, but this look isn’t appropriate or professional in an interview setting. Toes and flashy nail polish are distracting, so stick with shoes that are closed, comfortable, and business-friendly.

Don’t be messy, unhygienic, or unkempt. This may go without saying, but make sure you look presentable and neat from head to toe. Keep your hair combed, your breath minty fresh, be mindful of cleanliness and scent, and don’t wear clothing that is wrinkled or stained. Pro-tip: If you have pets, pet hair will find its way onto your outfit no matter how careful you are. Use a lint-roller on every item of clothing, front and back.

Men Attire for Virtual Interview

Dressing appropriately for a virtual interview is crucial to make a positive impression. Here's what men should consider:

  • Business Attire: Opt for a professional business attire, such as a suit with a dress shirt and tie. A well-fitted suit in a classic color like navy, charcoal, or black is a safe choice.
  • Shirt and Tie: If wearing a full suit feels too formal, a dress shirt and tie without a jacket can still convey professionalism. Ensure that the shirt is freshly pressed and neatly tucked in.
  • Grooming: Pay attention to grooming. Style your hair neatly, shave or trim facial hair if necessary, and maintain clean and well-manicured nails.
  • Accessories: Keep accessories minimal and tasteful. A classic wristwatch and simple cufflinks, if you wear them, can add a touch of elegance without being distracting.
  • Colors: Stick to neutral or subdued colors for your attire. Avoid loud or distracting patterns, as they can be off-putting on camera.
  • Footwear: While you may be tempted to wear comfortable shoes below the camera frame, it's a good practice to wear professional shoes in case you need to stand up during the interview.
Mens suits on mannequins

Interview Essentials: What Should You Bring with You?

When heading to an interview, whether it's in-person or virtual, it's essential to be well-prepared. Here's a list of interview essentials to bring with you:

For an In-Person Interview

  • Photo Identification: Bring a government-issued photo ID (e.g., driver's license or passport) for identity verification.
  • Multiple Copies of Your Resume: Carry several printed copies of your resume on professional-quality paper to distribute to interviewers or panel members.
  • Portfolio or Work Samples: If applicable to your field, bring a portfolio showcasing your work or relevant projects.
  • Notepad and Pen: Have a notepad and pen to take notes during the interview. This shows your interest and helps you remember important details.
  • List of Questions: Prepare a list of thoughtful questions to ask the interviewer(s) about the role, company, or program.
  • Directions and Contact Information: Have directions to the interview location, parking details, and the contact information of the person you're meeting with in case you encounter any issues.
  • Professional Attire: Dress professionally in appropriate attire for the industry and position. Consider bringing a briefcase or professional bag to carry your documents.
  • Breath Mints or Gum: Ensure your breath is fresh, especially if the interview involves close interactions.
  • Medication or Medical Supplies: If you require medication or have specific medical needs, carry them discreetly.

For a Virtual Interview

  • Technology Check: Ensure your computer, webcam, microphone, and internet connection are working correctly. Test the video conferencing software in advance.
  • Charger and Backup Power: Have your laptop charger and, if possible, a backup power source in case of battery issues.
  • Professional Background: Set up a professional and clutter-free background for the video call.
  • Documents on Your Device: Save digital copies of your resume, portfolio, and any other documents you may need on your computer or in the cloud for easy access during the virtual interview.
  • Headphones: Consider using headphones with a built-in microphone to reduce background noise and improve audio quality.
  • Test Environment: Ensure you're in a quiet and well-lit room with minimal distractions.
  • Dress Professionally: Dress professionally from head to toe, as you may need to stand up or move during the interview.
  • Headshot or Profile Photo: If you're using video conferencing software that displays your profile picture, ensure it's professional.
  • List of Questions: Prepare your list of questions to ask the interviewer(s) and have them handy.
  • Positive Attitude: Bring your positive attitude, enthusiasm, and a smile to the virtual interview, just as you would for an in-person meeting.

Whether it's an in-person or virtual interview, being well-prepared and organized with the essentials can help you make a strong impression and navigate the interview process with confidence.

Woman shopping for clothes in store


In this section, we'll address some of the common questions you may have about choosing the best attire for your medical school interview. Let's dive in and ensure you're well-prepared for this important aspect of the interview process.

1. Should I wear cologne or perfume?

Scents are subjective and can be bothersome to some due to allergies or sensitivities. If you choose to wear cologne or perfume, use it sparingly with just a small spritz. Some universities and workplaces have scent-free policies, so if you're unsure about your medical school's policy, it's safer to avoid wearing scents altogether.

2. I don’t normally wear makeup. Do I have to wear makeup for my interview?

Studies show makeup can enhance your appearance and professionalism, but it's a personal choice. If you feel confident without it, there's no need to conform. A touch of chapstick, mascara, or nude lip color can provide a polished look in professional settings. Keep it simple, neutral, and comfortable, saving bold makeup for special occasions.

3. Can I wear jewelry and accessories to my medical school interview?

Keep jewelry and accessories simple to avoid distractions. Opt for small stud earrings, a neutral-colored leather-banded timepiece, and minimal rings. Choose delicate necklaces or pearls over flashy jewelry. Prioritize a classy and professional appearance during your interview.

4. Ties are so uncomfortable. Can I wear a suit with an open collar?

Wear a tie for the interview. An open collar is too casual. A tie really finishes your look and adds that detail of professionalism and seriousness that will make a great first impression.

5. How do I get over feeling self-conscious about how I look to the interviewers?

Feeling nervous is normal, but remember, you're your own toughest critic. Interviewers care more about your professionalism and performance. Don't obsess over minor details; focus on looking clean and neat. Practice your smile privately to boost confidence. Your smile is a winner, and you'll impress interviewers with your confidence and professionalism.

6. Should I keep any items on my person?

To maintain your attire, carry a few travel-sized essentials like a hairbrush, deodorant, mints (avoid during meetings), dental floss, compact mirror, hand sanitizer, and fragrance-free hand lotion. Keep it practical and uncluttered.

7. What if I have a wardrobe emergency on the day of my medical school interview?

Accidents can happen. To ease anxiety on interview day, keep a backup outfit in your car, stored in a garment bag to prevent wrinkles. While you hope for a smooth interview day, it's wise to be prepared.

8. I have no fashion sense. Even using this guide, how do I know that the styles I’ve picked out are flattering to my body type?

Self-judgment can be challenging. Consider trying on outfits in front of a full-body mirror or seek a trusted opinion from a friend or family member. If something doesn't fit well or look right, ask for recommendations and try different combinations while prioritizing professionalism. Above all, choose attire that makes you feel confident and comfortable.

Final Thoughts

No matter if you ask all the right questions, provide thoughtful answers, and present your qualifications, your attire is a crucial factor in shaping the impression you leave and acing your interview. Keep in mind professionalism and confidence are your allies. 

The key takeaways in wearing the best attire for your medical school interview are to maintain professionalism with every piece of your outfit, dress modestly to enhance your natural features, look clean and presentable, and feel your absolute greatest.

Your best look, however, is when you make eye contact with your medical school interviewers and smile. When you’re dressed in your best attire, your genuine smile is sure to leave a radiant, lasting impression.

Good luck, and rock your medical school interview. 

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