A college tour is one of the best opportunities you have to learn about what a campus is really like. Reading promotional material, or even student exposedzippers.coms, isn”t the same as seeing and experiencing it for yourself, but, like any other aspect of applying to college, you need to make sure you”re prepared for a college visit—and that means wearing the right outfit!
Most of the time, dressing for a college tour is a casual affair.
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But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider the best way to go about it—comfort and classiness are key.
This guide will walk you through the best way to dress for many different college visit scenarios. A bit of planning will help you have the best possible experience, as well as prepare you for interviews, auditions, and just exploring your dream campus. Read on to find out how!
- 1 What to Wear to a College Visit
- 1.1 What to Wear on a College Visit If You’re Just Walking Around Campus on Your Own
- 1.2 What to Wear on a College Tour If You’re on a Guided Tour
- 1.3 What to Wear on a College Tour If You’re Meeting With a Professor
- 1.4 What to Wear to a College Visit If You Have an Interview
- 1.5 What to Wear on a College Tour If You’re Auditioning
- 2 How to Pick What to Wear on a College Tour
What to Wear to a College Visit
One of the biggest things to keep in mind when considering what to wear to a college visit is that, in most cases, a college tour is for you to see the college, not for the college to see you.
For the most part, you can dress casually. But there are special considerations if you won’t just be touring the college, so keep that in mind as you’re planning your outfit.
What to Wear on a College Visit If You’re Just Walking Around Campus on Your Own
If you’re not on a guided tour and are just checking out the campus, you can wear pretty much whatever you want, within reason. It might look weird if you’re strolling through campus in a suit—whether three-piece or bathing—but if you’re just there as a visitor, you’re on your own.
What to Wear on a College Tour If You’re on a Guided Tour
If you’re on a guided tour, it’s absolutely okay to be a little casual. You don”t need to be impressive, though you should aim for comfort and self-confidence.
Comfortable shoes are a must, though maybe choose something nicer than your rattiest pair of sneakers. Whatever shoes you wear should be broken in so you don”t have to deal with pinching and blisters midway through the day. If your feet are hurting, you”re less likely to be paying attention to the tour!
Jeans are fine, as are t-shirts, but be wary of anything with a slogan or image that might be offensive. Even if a curse word or scantily clad person doesn”t bother you, it”s probably not the right fit for your first impression!
You don’t have to dress fancy, but do put in a little bit of effort. Present your best self—the self you’d want people to see as you venture off to college.
If you”ll be meeting with a professor, feel free to dress your outfit up a bit.
What to Wear on a College Tour If You’re Meeting With a Professor
Many students take advantage of being on campus to schedule appointments with advisers or professors in their field of study. If you’ve chosen to do so, it’s a smart idea to dress it up a little bit. Dress clothes are unnecessary, but do dress a little nicer than you would for just a tour.
Polished shoes are a good choice, but you still want them to be comfortable. If they’re going to pinch as you walk around campus, you may want to go more casual with a nice boat shoe, loafer, or boot. Whatever you choose, be sure that your shoes are broken in.
Dark, nice jeans are appropriate for a meeting with a professor. You could also opt for corduroys or khakis—whatever is going to make you feel most comfortable and confident.
A meeting with a professor is more professional than a tour, but not as professional as a college interview. Instead of a t-shirt, go for something a little classier—abutton-up shirt or blouse is always a good choice. You don’t need to reach for a blazer, but if it makes you feel good, do it!
Most importantly, come prepared with questions and a good attitude. This is your chance to find out more about the school you want to attend, and that’s going to matter far more than looking like a model.
Your college interview outfit should have you looking and feeling something like this.
What to Wear to a College Visit If You Have an Interview
Business casual is your go-to for dressing for a college interview. You want to look both confident and professional, so spend a little more time on choosing your shirt and pants than you might for just a guided tour or meeting with a professor.
If you’re walking around campus as well as doing an interview, however, you’re going to want to be sure your shoes are going to hold up to lots of walking as well as looking sharp. Loafers may be a better choice than a dress shoe, unless you’re absolutely certain you’ve broken in the dress shoes and they’re still going to be comfortable after an hour or two.
Opt for a skirt, khakis, corduroy pants, or similar, paired with a button-up shirt or blouse. Dresses are fine, provided you cover your shoulders with a sweater or blazer. Keep your skirt length to around your knees (especially if you’re walking around!), but don’t worry about pantyhose or tights if they’re not comfortable or seasonally appropriate.
Choose an outfit that”s right for the season and climate. Layer your clothes if you”re touring in the fall or winter so you”ll be presentable during your interview, but stay warm enough outside. In the spring and summer, wear light, breathablefabrics so you”re not overheating outside—you don”t want to show up for your interview all red-faced and sweaty.
If you’re doing an interview on top of taking a tour, consider bringing a change of clothes. You want to be at your best during the interview, so changing into a fresh set of clothes might be your best option, if possible. If not, see if you can schedule your interview for before the tour—that way, you’re not already tired and disheveled from a day of wandering.
If you”re auditioning during your tour, you might consider tweaking your outfit as appropriate.
What to Wear on a College Tour If You’re Auditioning
Business casual is a good baseline, but, depending on what you’re auditioning for, you might make some additional tweaks to your clothes.
For example, what would a professional musician wear? How about an actor attending an audition? What would you wear to a gallery opening (though don’t get too fancy!)?Don’t overdo it, but do base your outfit choice on what makes sense for your field.
Comfortable shoes are still an absolute must, as you may be standing during your audition as well as walking around campus.
Choose an outfit that suits the weather—don’t wear a sweater for a summer campus tour in California—or add layers that you can remove when you’re done auditioning so you don’t overheat. The reverse is true, as well; bring a warm coat and gloves if necessary.
If walking around in your audition outfit will be too uncomfortable, consider bringing a change of clothes. Though you may have to carry a change of clothes, it’s far better to be comfortable and confident for your interview, and simply comfortable for the tour!
How to Pick What to Wear on a College Tour
What outfit you should wear depends in part on what you’re doing. Unless you’ll be doing an interview or audition, don’t rush out and buy a whole new wardrobe.
Try on lots of combinations and try to find what makes you feel good about yourself as well as comfortable. Again, you’re going to be focused on learning more about the campus, not on impressing your guide. Put in effort, but don’t overdo it.
It can’t be overstated: you’re going to be walking a lot, so wear comfortable, broken-in shoes.
Bring a bag, whether it’s a nice messenger bag or a clean, classy backpack. You’re going to be given lots of information, pamphlets, and so on, and having a place to put it will make walking around much easier. A bag can also hold a water bottle, snacks, and a notebook, which you can use to write down questions and notes you might have while touring.
Don’t worry too much about your outfit. You’ll be part of a group—unless you’re interviewing or auditioning, your main concern should be what you’re going to learn from the visit. Look clean and confident and you’ll have everything you need.