Make a Proper First Impression
Before you say a word, your attire already told your interviewers something about you. Hopefully, it was something good. Do you know why some people say that first impressions are everything? Because you rarely get a chance to make another impression. This is true especially for medical schools. You want to put your best foot forward and your best clothes on. So what do I mean by best clothes?
What Can You Wear?
The following are medical school interview attire guidelines, adapted from the dress requirements set by my school for simulated patient exams. It is a good indication of what schools consider as proper interview attire.
- Attire must be clean, pressed and in good condition.
- Clothing that is torn, even if the tear is part of the design, is not acceptable.
- Shoes must be clean and functional for work responsibilities and of a closed toe design. Heel height should be limited to about 2 – 2 ½ inches. Sandals, sport shoes or flip-flops, including sandal-style dress shoes are not acceptable.
- Hosiery / socks must be worn with all types of shoes. Socks must cover the ankles. Lacy or fishnet stockings should not be worn.
- Facial hair, including that maintained for religious purposes, must be neatly groomed. Areas not covered by well-groomed beards and moustaches must be clean shaven.
- Hair should be styled in such a way that it does not require handling and rearranging (e.g. repeatedly gathering or arranging behind ears, out of the face, etc.).
- Head coverings worn for religious purposes must be clean, neat and dignified in appearance. Head gear such as baseball caps, bandanas and similar casual / sport attire is not considered suitable as a religious head covering.
- Men are expected to wear shirts with collars. Ties are to be worn. Shirts and blouses must completely cover the midriff. Cleavage should not be visible. Skirts / dresses should not be more than two inches above the knee. Skirts, dresses and pants should have a “business fit” and should not be overly tight or clingy.
- Tattoos and other body art must be covered.
- Jewelry may be worn around the neck, wrists, ankles or ears provided it is not distracting. Jewelry should be limited to one bracelet and anklet on each limb and one set of earrings. In general, body piercing is not acceptable, but it is recognized that some piercing may have religious / cultural significance and may be tastefully worn.
- Fingernails must be clean, neat and well groomed at all times and maintained at a length that does not exceed the finger tip. Freshly applied, non-chipped nail polish is acceptable.
- Students should take care to be free of any strong aromas, natural or acquired by scented products. Perfume, cologne and scented aftershave should not be worn.
- Mints / gum should be emptied from the mouth prior to interviews.
- The following articles of clothing are not acceptable: denim jeans, tee shirts, sweat shirts, halter tops, shorts / capri pants, and shirts with slogans.
In Summary …
I believe the above guidelines are detailed enough for you to figure out what is appropriate and what is not in terms of interview attire. Basically, the above guidelines can be summarized as the following: be conservative, stay classy.
This article is part of the Get into Medical School series. Click on the link if you want more tips and hints about getting accepted into medical school.