What to Wear to a College Visit: Look & Feel Your Best

A female college student walking on a college campus.

Going on college tours is one of the most fun parts of applying for school. After exhaustive research into your favorite schools, it’s time to get hands-on and meet them in person. A campus tour tells you a lot about the kind of school you’re attending. It lets you get a candid glimpse of student life. You’re also finally getting the chance to see the campus in all its glory.

Of course, just like the campus is making its first impression on you, it’s also a student’s opportunity to make a first impression on the campus. How do you know what to wear, and what not to wear, when taking your college campus tour? Here’s the lowdown on what you need to know and what to wear to your college visit to make sure you look and feel your best.

How to Dress for a Personal College Tour

Maybe you’re going up with your family or a couple of friends for an informal tour of the campus. Perhaps you’re looking for the opportunity to get a better feel for the town and have the chance to see the campus on your own. In this case, you can feel free to wear what makes you happy, within reason.

Our first piece of advice is to dress comfortably. Before you head out the door, take a look at the weather forecast and plan accordingly. If it’s going to be a hot day, ditch the sweater. If it’s going to be chilly, make sure you bring a jacket. Whatever you do, plan ahead so that you feel great all day long. There is a good chance that you will spend a lot of time walking. You don’t want to be bundled up during an unseasonably warm day. You’re there by yourself, so there’s no need to impress anyone.

What to Wear on a Guided Campus Tour

Things are a little different when you choose to embark on a guided tour of campus. For group tours, you’ll likely have a tour guide that may be a current student or an admissions officer. You will also be joined by other prospective students. You only get one opportunity to make a first impression, so make it count!

Like we said before, dressing comfortably is the first step to preparing for your campus tour. Consider a good pair of jeans and a nice collared shirt or blouse. This way, you’re casual enough to enjoy yourself while also looking presentable.

The same goes for shoes. You’re going to be walking a lot. Depending on the campus, a good deal of that walking may be uphill. Make sure that your footwear is something you’ll be comfortable wearing all day. This isn’t the time to break in those heels or a new pair of boots. Instead, opt for a pair of sneakers or flats that look good but feel even better.

Show Some Spirit

There’s nothing wrong with showing some support for the school you’re visiting. Showing a little school spirit during your college visit is perfectly acceptable. Just remember it’s a campus tour, not a football game.

Whatever you do, don’t wear a different school’s gear to your campus tour. This is especially true of a collegiate rival. Don’t show up to a tour of Harvard in a Yale sweatshirt, and don’t arrive at UNC-Chapel Hill wearing Duke University colors! Remember, it’s all about first impressions, and no one wants to come off as a bad sport!

What to Wear During College Interviews

Some of the most selective colleges (like Ivy League schools and other prestigious private universities) may ask for candidates to attend an interview as part of the admissions process. The purpose of these interviews is to evaluate candidates while also offering more information about the school itself. What happens during these interviews will have a direct effect on your application, so making a strong first impression is important.

For a college interview, you’re going to want to dress like you would for an important job interview. For men, that means donning a sharp suit with a clean, wrinkle-free dress shirt and a nice tie. For women, a professional-style dress, pantsuit, or smart blazer with the right blouse and some conservative heels might be perfect. What you wear during your college interview shows how seriously you take the college. Show them how much you care by taking care in how you present yourself.

Be Yourself

At the end of the day, you want to put your best foot forward when it comes to taking a tour of your favorite campus. One of the best ways to do this is when you pick out what to wear to a college visit. Even so, it’s important to remember that you want colleges to like you for you. Showcasing your personality and what makes you special is what college applications are all about.

When you’re planning what to wear for a college visit, remember to be comfortable, be confident, and be yourself. Just try to not to go too crazy. You never know when you might run into one of your future professors.