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I just wanted to update that at my first PhD interview (this past week) I was the only PhD interviewee in a blazer or suit jacket or a button up/dress shirt. I was interviewing for a Couple and Family Therapy PhD program. There were two master interviewees that were wearing suit jackets or blazers, but the other PhD interviewees were just wearing nicer slacks and blouses. It did not seem to be a big deal. It was nice for me, as I was wearing slacks, a button up shirt, and a comfortable blazer- but not a super formal looking blazer.

That said, I still do plan to go look for an actual suit set this coming weekend for the rest of my PhD interviews (there was literally blizzard conditions the weekend before my first interview, when I had planned to go suit shopping. I opted to not risk driving and just wear what I already had). I'm just going to keep in mind to not not choose something too traditionally formal. Then I plan to take the outfit I wore last week along for things like dinners or gatherings for things like how my next interview has a student hosted dinner the night before the interviews (as well as an optional student "going out to dinner" gathering on the day of the interviews- but I will probably just wear the suit outfit, minus the jacket, to that).

Anyways, I just wanted to update that, similar to what stumbleforward was saying, things might be a little less formal for MFT/CFT related degree interviews. Definitely not casual by any stretch, but I would have been significantly over dressed than others had I worn a super formal looking suit set.

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On 1/9/2020 at 3:25 PM, Psych1st said:

I know this might seem silly to ask, but I NEVER wear makeup. I don't really know how to do it and my skin is really sensitive to it. But is it kinda the norm or expected for women to wear makeup to things like this? I feel like in 2020 it shouldn't matter but I thought I would get your opinions?? 

No, don't wear it. This process is meant to present the best versions of our actual selves, not for us to try and fit into some cultural expectations. I don't wear makeup (I'm a woman) and don't plan on changing that for my visits. This is my first time applying, but I was in my post-bacc program last year when applicants came for visiting day and you could TOTALLY tell who was uncomfortable in their clothes and who wasn't. Definitely look sharp and put together (I didn't see any jeans accept at the socials), but be yourself and wear comfortable shoes. I will be in nice wrap dresses for all of my visits, not packing a single blazer. But I'm also 37 and a little more at home in my sense of self than I know many other people are. It can be hard when you're in your early 20's (I don't know if you are) to feel confident enough to just be the shiniest version of yourself. But I'm sure you'll shine in so many ways, don't stress too much about the outfit!

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On 1/15/2020 at 5:27 PM, imemine said:

Sorry if this is a dumb question haha (first-time interview-goer here!), but where exactly do people put their padfolios/document holders? Do they carry them around all the time, or do most people bring purses large enough to fit them? Is it weird to carry both a padfolio and a small purse? Also, for non-clinical interviews, is it expected that everyone has their own document holder going in?

I think I'm going to have to end up using a backpack... between my laptop, water bottle, notebook, and some sort of document holder. I'm not sure how else I could manage it all. I realize it's a bit informal, but it also seems like the only practical option.

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4 hours ago, SocialPsych2018 said:

I think I'm going to have to end up using a backpack... between my laptop, water bottle, notebook, and some sort of document holder. I'm not sure how else I could manage it all. I realize it's a bit informal, but it also seems like the only practical option.

at my interviews a lot of people were carrying backpacks. I wouldn't stress it too much.

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5 minutes ago, yikespsych said:

Are black jeans appropriate for a pre-interview day dinner/party if worn with a nice sweater and tall black boots? Or should I swap them out with dress pants?

Black jeans are appropriate. That’s what I wore to the social events. 

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While I'm in Dallas for an interview for a Counseling Psych program, I will also be taking a day to visit the campus of another school in the area where I applied for a PhD program in Counselor Education.  I will be meeting with the professor I hope to study with and his TA, but this is not a formal interview.  Any thoughts on what I should wear? 

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Does anyone have advice on what to wear for "business casual"? UMass Amherst's clinical weekend has one day with a business casual dress code and one day with a professional dress code. I'm wondering (for women applicants) if a nice sweater is business casual-y enough or if I should wear a colored blazer and dark jeans. 

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22 minutes ago, corbeau0 said:

Does anyone have advice on what to wear for "business casual"? UMass Amherst's clinical weekend has one day with a business casual dress code and one day with a professional dress code. I'm wondering (for women applicants) if a nice sweater is business casual-y enough or if I should wear a colored blazer and dark jeans. 

I wouldn't classify jeans as business casual. Slacks and a blouse would be your best bet. Sweater really depends on the sweater. 

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Would a cardigan be too casual for a clinical psych Ph.D. interview? Honestly, I have yet to find a blazer that I like but I love wearing cardigans. 

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Would a green blazer be acceptable for an interview? It's a very professional blazer, it's just that it's green, and I know I've seen some people saying that this isn't the time for fashion, but I think it's beautiful and I like how I look in it. Should I stick to neutrals?

Also, do blazers need to button in the front? My only black blazer does not button.

Sorry y'all I feel dumb asking these things.

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24 minutes ago, teenygreeny said:

Would a green blazer be acceptable for an interview? It's a very professional blazer, it's just that it's green, and I know I've seen some people saying that this isn't the time for fashion, but I think it's beautiful and I like how I look in it. Should I stick to neutrals?

Also, do blazers need to button in the front? My only black blazer does not button.

Sorry y'all I feel dumb asking these things.

What kind of green? A dark, muted green yes. A bright lime green, no.

An unbuttoned black blazer is definitely fine. 

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22 minutes ago, PsyDuck90 said:

What kind of green? A dark, muted green yes. A bright lime green, no.

An unbuttoned black blazer is definitely fine. 

I would say it's a calm emerald green. Definitely not bright lime green, but I also wouldn't call it dark.

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23 minutes ago, teenygreeny said:

I would say it's a calm emerald green. Definitely not bright lime green, but I also wouldn't call it dark.

I think that should be good. I would pair it with neutral pants, shirt, and accessories and let the blazer be the statement piece. 

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Alright, I'm starting to stress about my wardrobe for non-interview related activities. The day before the interview, I'll be traveling and then will go on a tour of the town and the school. I'm thinking of wearing black jeans with a blouse and chunky cardigan for warmth, but am worried a chunky cardigan may be too casual. Thoughts? Also, where does a sweater fall on the spectrum of casual - business casual - formal? 

I don't have too many "in between" clothes and would prefer to not buy anything else, but don't want to be underdressed.

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30 minutes ago, justacigar said:

Alright, I'm starting to stress about my wardrobe for non-interview related activities. The day before the interview, I'll be traveling and then will go on a tour of the town and the school. I'm thinking of wearing black jeans with a blouse and chunky cardigan for warmth, but am worried a chunky cardigan may be too casual. Thoughts? Also, where does a sweater fall on the spectrum of casual - business casual - formal? 

I don't have too many "in between" clothes and would prefer to not buy anything else, but don't want to be underdressed.

That sounds fine, especially since you’ll probably be wearing a coat for a lot of those activities. If you go inside and feel underdressed in the cardigan, just take it off and wear only the blouse. 

It depends for sweaters. I wear them all the time for my practicum, but definitely not the same type of sweater I would wear in casual settings. I would not wear an oversized or bulky sweater to an interview. 

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1 hour ago, PsycUndergrad said:

That sounds fine, especially since you’ll probably be wearing a coat for a lot of those activities. If you go inside and feel underdressed in the cardigan, just take it off and wear only the blouse. 

It depends for sweaters. I wear them all the time for my practicum, but definitely not the same type of sweater I would wear in casual settings. I would not wear an oversized or bulky sweater to an interview. 

Thanks for the input! Unfortunately I have a lot of tattoos that I don't want to show at the interview weekend so I'll need to keep the cardigan on, but maybe I'll try to bring a more structured cardigan in case I feel it's too casual. 

I was between two different sweaters but one is fitted and the other is fairly large and cozy, so I'll be sure to wear the fitted option. I appreciate the help!

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I like to rely on the opinions of grad students since they’ve been through the whole process already. One of the graduate students in the Clinical program at my undergraduate university said for women: navy or black pantsuit. He said skirts are fine as long as they are conservative, even when sitting down. Conservative all around seems like the way to go. I hate skirts anyway so this was music to my ears 🤷🏼‍♀️

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