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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 should be properly hemmed to the appropriate length based on your height and the height of your dress shoes. Iron out any creases.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Scents are subjective, and some scents are intolerable to people due to allergies or sensitivities. If you are going to wear cologne or perfume, use it very sparingly. A little bit goes a long way, so just a small spritz will do. You should also be aware that some universities and workplaces have adopted scent-free policies to prevent allergic reactions. If you don’t know if there are scent-free policies at your medical school, then be cautious and avoid wearing scents altogether.
Social and behavioral studies have shown that a little bit of makeup finishes your look and makes you appear put-together and presentable to people. With this said, women should absolutely be able to choose whether or not to wear makeup. If you feel comfortable and confident in not wearing makeup, then don’t worry about conforming to please others. If you like, add a touch of Chapstick. You truly don’t need a lot of makeup, and in a professional setting, a lot of makeup is actually disadvantageous. Just add a touch of mascara and a nude color for your lips. If you don’t like the heavy feel of a liquid foundation or concealer, brush on a bit of mineral powder. Just keep it simple, neutral, and worry-free. No need for bold eyeliner, sparkles, glitter, and fire-engine-red lips—save that for when you go out and celebrate nailing your interview!
Jewelry and accessories should also remain simple and not be a cause of distraction. Small, simple stud earrings work. Don’t wear big hoops or dangling earrings that can get caught on something. A timepiece with a neutral-colored leather band looks classy and professional. Wedding bands are acceptable but don’t wear too many rings because you’ll likely be shaking a lot of hands at your interview. Small pendants and delicate necklaces are favorable to big, gaudy costume jewelry. You can never go wrong with a string of pearls, either. When in doubt, class over flash.
A: Wear the 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.
It’s normal to feel nervous or self-conscious, but we promise you, you are far more critical of your appearance than anyone else, including the interviewers who are there to judge you. It is far more important to them that you look clean, neat, and professional and have a solid medical school interview. People are not going to notice the minute details that you are obsessing about, so take a deep breath and trust that your professional attire will make you look amazing. Pro-tip: Practice your smile in privacy in front of a mirror. Practicing your smile will boost your confidence and get you to genuinely smile for real. When you see your own smile, you’ll worry less about meeting the interviewers because you’ll know your smile is a winner. If you don’t believe it, try it. You’ll be surprised.
You don’t want your handbag, briefcase, purse, or pockets to look overpacked with items, but a few small items may be helpful to maintain your attire throughout the day. The following travel size items are convenient and useful: hairbrush or comb, extra hair ties, clips, and bobby pins, deodorant, mints (but do not eat mints while you’re meeting people and talking), dental floss, lint-roller, compact mirror and compact makeup for touch-ups, any necessary personal toiletries, hand sanitizer, and fragrance-free hand lotion.
Accidents happen. You didn’t mean to spill that entire cup of piping hot coffee on your lap. To save yourself from unnecessary anxiety on the day of your interview, have a back-up outfit in your car, properly enclosed and stored in a wardrobe or garment bag. The wardrobe or garment bag will ensure that your outfit doesn’t get wrinkled. Hopefully, the day of your interview will be smooth sailing and you won’t need the back-up outfit, but it’s better to be prepared.
It is hard to judge ourselves. Pro-tip: You can try on different outfits in front of a full-body mirror, so you can see what you look like head to toe. If you’re still feeling unsure, ask a trusted friend, colleague, or family member for their honest opinion. If they say that something doesn’t fit well or look right on you, ask them what they recommend instead and try different combinations. Just make sure it’s professional. Most importantly, prioritize your comfort and the attire that makes you feel fabulous.
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.