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What to wear to a private school interview?

Last updated: 
October 6, 2023

The phrase “dress for success” is a smart way to approach private school interviews. As a rule of thumb, dress according to the school’s dress code, and when in doubt, err on the side of dressing up.

What should students wear?

If the school doesn’t have a formal dress code, check photos on the school’s website and social media to see how students dress. At most schools, khakis or slacks with a button-up dress shirt are appropriate for boys. For girls, a dress, skirt, or slacks combination with a blouse and possibly a sweater are safe choices.

A nice polo may be appropriate at schools where student attire is more casual; conversely, a sports coat or blazer may fit the situation. Ultimately, what’s most important is that the student is comfortable with their attire. “Dress for success” is as much about how the student feels as it is the actual clothing. Interviews are nerve-racking enough without feeling self-conscious.

Students should avoid jeans, shorts, t-shirts, athletic wear, and revealing clothing—even if this is what current students wear. The overall point is to dress respectfully to show that you care about getting into the school. 

What should parents wear?

The safe approach: Dress as you would for a business meeting with new people. Business casual is appropriate at most schools, but, as with students, you also want to be comfortable with your attire. There’s nothing wrong with dressing up more, but you also don’t want to overdo it.  

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