Dental School Interview: Dressing for the Occasion

The interview is a very important part of making it into dental school. Depending on one’s statistics, application essays, personal statement, letters of recommendation, and the number of dental schools that they applied to will determine the number of interviews that they receive.

Once you have obtained an interview it is very important to make the best of it. Perhaps, the simplest part of all is coming to the interview prepared to make a good first impression. The schools know that once you are in dental school you will come “casually” dressed sometimes scraggly hair, wrinkly clothes, and all the other things that come along with staying up late and waking up early. However, the admissions staff wants to know that you put forth an effort to look your best for the occasion and that you actually care about getting into dental school. Remember, if you are not prepared someone else will be.

1. Haircut
For some, this is a no brainer but for others (first-hand experience on my interview outings) they simply forget that their hair affects the way they look. I know I am not speaking to any of the ladies out there, so for you men, if you wear your hair longer be sure to at least get a trim and make it look good. The bedhead look just does not cut it at important interviews.

These would be two examples of acceptable hairstyles. Of course, you are not limited to these two hairstyles but I think you get the point, clean, nicely styled haircuts.
Hairstyles that resemble this in any way shape or form would be considered unacceptable for an interview!

2. ClothingBeing dressed properly is another big part of looking good. I am not here to advocate the $1,000 suits or $500 dresses. Many of you may already have suits/dresses that are interview appropriate. If not, don’t worry about buying the most expensive or nicest suit you can find . In fact, look for a cheap suit/dress that fits your budget but still looks nice (Easily find a suit around $100 or less, I know I did). Remember, they are not judging you on how much your clothing cost but they do want to see that you are put together and look professional.

What do men generally wear to the interview?
The large majority of men are wearing suits to their interviews. It seems like occasionally you will see someone with a nice pair of slacks, a dress shirt, and a tie but if you want to look like you are at the top of your game then wear a suit. It doesn’t really matter what color the suit is (within reasonable limits of course). If you want to make it easy on yourself find a dark navy blue, or black suit. Other colors such as different shades of brown, blue, charcoal, and greens are also acceptable.

The following suits would be perfectly acceptable for an interview
In my humble opinion suits that were popular back in the 70s are probably not all that acceptable at an interview. If you want to try it because that is who you are then I guess that is up to you. I would also avoid other flashy suits as shown in the following picture.
Also note that just because you have a $200 pair of jeans, it does not mean they are interview appropriate. Everything has its place but I would stick with a suit, dress shirt, and a tie.
What do the women generally wear to an interview?
This is a little bit more of a complex question, at least for me. However, the majority of the ladies at my interviews were wearing either a dress, skirt and blouse, or dress suit. It seems like there is an unlimited number of acceptable combinations for women and that is probably why they take so long to choose an outfit.   I am no expert on women’s clothing, however, I would recommend something that is conservative in colors and modest in cut. Also, remember that many of the schools give tours so you will want to wear shoes that are comfortable enough to walk/stand in for at least an hour.
These are only a few examples. I know that you ladies are more than capable of finding appropriate attire for your interviews. If I say much more than I already have concerning women’s clothing, I am afraid I will be speaking beyond my limits.
NOTE: Mainly for all of you men out there. Remember to iron your clothing, polish your shoes, and brush your hair for your interviews. As competitive as dental school is becoming you cannot afford to not get accepted because you did not put the effort in to look good. Just because you have a DAT of 22 and a 3.8 GPA, does not guarantee you a spot. The interview can make or break your application. Your first impression could be the deal breaker. Good luck!