What Should I Wear To A College Campus Visit?

Choosing what to wear to a college visit can be tricky. You have to ensure you don’t overdress or underdress for the event while making sure your outfit is suitable for the weather, amongst other things.

If you’re still unsure how to do this and can’t afford to hire a stylist, here’s our article on what I should wear to a college campus visit for you.

We will discuss different scenarios, what you are expected to wear, and more. Before we get into it, below are checklists you must observe to ensure you know what to wear to a college visit.


First, you need to understand what and why you’re coming to the campus to do and tailor your outfit to match the event.

Because most institutions no longer offer on-campus interviews, I am creating this piece for a routine visit that includes a campus tour and information session.

Although few still do (Wake Forest, W&M, etc.), the bulk does not. I would suggest stepping it up a notch if you meet with a professor or attend an interview on campus.

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Don’t Overdress

I often encounter a common mistake during college visits, and while it may sound trivial, it’s worth addressing. Interestingly, teenage boys are not typically at fault for this particular issue, but I see it frequently with girls and parents, including boys whose outfits are chosen by their parents.

For girls, the main concern lies with their choice of footwear. Many girls struggle to walk comfortably in heels, and that’s perfectly understandable. As teenagers, you’re not expected to have extensive experience with heels. It’s best to avoid showing up on campus in shoes that make it difficult for you to walk.

It can come across as silly or lacking in common sense. However, that doesn’t mean you must resort to dirty sneakers. Look for comfortable flats; one recommendation I have is Rothy’s, which are eco-friendly and ideal for college visits. If you prefer sneakers for the tour, that’s fine as long as they are clean, and it’s a good idea to switch to something dressier for the information session.

For Parents

Concerning parents, wearing a full suit should generally be avoided. While it might be tempting, it’s better to aim for business casual or a blend of casual and business attire. Wearing a suit makes you stand out, and the goal is to blend in with the group during the visit.

Trust me, when a tour guide mentions a parent who stands out, it’s usually not in a positive way. However, it’s worth noting that the “no heels” rule doesn’t apply to moms. If a grown woman is accustomed to walking in heels and chooses to wear them on a campus tour, it’s generally acceptable.

For The Boys

Now, let’s address the boys. Please, I urge you not to insist that your son wears a suit. It can make him look out of place and somewhat awkward. It’s even worse than parents wearing suits, as at least parents tend to appear comfortable. I’ll provide further guidance on what boys should wear later on.

Don’t Underdress

It’s essential to strike a balance when dressing appropriately for a college visit. Under-dressing is not acceptable just because you want to avoid overdressing. Anything ripped or torn, even if considered fashionable, should be avoided.

Similarly, it’s best to steer clear of anything objectionable, including items like a MAGA hat or any hat, for that matter. As a general guideline, shirts with written words are usually inappropriate. However, jeans are acceptable if they are in good condition and presentable.

Another crucial aspect is ensuring that your clothes are clean and pressed. The same khaki shorts and collared shirt can give off very different impressions if they are wrinkled versus fresh from the dry cleaning bag. If you have a car ride longer than an hour or so, it’s advisable to wear a different outfit for the journey.

Opt for something comfortable, and then you can stop at a nearby Starbucks or a suitable location near the campus to change. Even if you have a shorter car ride, it’s wise to have a change of clothes on hand in case of spills or accidents. I am prone to spilling iced coffee (what can I say!), so I always have a spare set of clothes prepared as a precaution.

Consider Layers

When planning a college visit during the unpredictable weather of spring break, it’s essential to consider layering your clothing. Even if you prefer not to carry extra options, keeping them in the car is a good idea.

This is especially important if you visit multiple schools on the same day. The weather can start cool, become warm, and cool down again later. You don’t want to find yourself freezing or melting in inappropriate attire.

With layers available, you can adjust your clothing throughout the day and ensure comfort regardless of the changing weather conditions.

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Try Everything On In Advance

Planning your college visit attire well in advance is advisable to avoid last-minute outfit decisions. Set aside some time a few weeks before the trip to lay out all the clothing options on your bed. This will allow you to assess if anything new needs to be purchased.

I recommend arranging everything you plan to wear, including shoes and accessories, and ensuring they complement each other well. Once you have selected it, try the outfit to confirm that it fits properly.

This step is crucial because even the most excellent, cleanest, and most appropriate outfit can appear unflattering if it doesn’t work well. Strive for a “just right” fit, avoiding clothing that is too big or too small.

Additionally, if you have any concerns about the practicality of an outfit while walking, such as a skirt that might ride up, consider taking a short walk around the block to gauge its comfort and functionality. These proactive steps will help ensure that your outfit is well-planned, properly fitted, and suitable for your college visit.

Prepare For The Weather

College visits in the rain are the worst. If you are visiting a school locally and it’s easy to postpone your trip, you may want to do that. Otherwise, dress accordingly so that you are prepared for rain or shine! If you’ve flown to a school and it does rain, try not to skip the tour, as tempting as it will be.

Pack rain gear and an umbrella for each person touring, even if it doesn’t look like rain will be in the forecast. It’s better to be prepared, and you know that if you lug all your raincoats somewhere, it won’t end up raining – so think of it as an insurance policy for good weather! On that note – don’t forget your sunglasses, either!

Dress Attire


College admission consultants strongly advise against overdressing for college visits and emphasize the importance of comfort and confidence. Since these visits are typically more informal, it is perfectly acceptable to dress casually.

For students, consultants encourage wearing their favorite jeans paired with a t-shirt. It is even better if the student has a crew neck or shirt with the university’s name and comfortable jeans. However, wearing any clothing with inappropriate graphic images, curse words, or offensive words or images is highly discouraged.

Parents, on the other hand, are not expected to dress professionally. There is no obligation to wear a suit, tie, business suit, or business dress. Standing out in the crowd and drawing attention to oneself is not the desired outcome.

College admission consultants recommend that parents wear an outfit they feel comfortable in while showcasing their style.

The same guidelines apply to parents regarding inappropriate graphic images, curse words, or offensive language or ideas, including political statements. By adhering to these suggestions, students and parents can present themselves confidently and appropriately during college visits.


I strongly advise against wearing heels during a college visit for females. The reason behind this recommendation is the extended periods of walking involved during the campus tour, with little breaks for rest.

If you are accustomed to wearing heels and can walk for an extended period, carrying an extra pair of shoes, such as flats or sneakers, in case your feet start to feel sore during the campus tour is still advisable.

For males, college admissions counselors recommend choosing shoes that provide maximum comforts, such as sneakers, loafers, or boots. Dress shoes, which are typically less comfortable, should be avoided.

Considering prolonged walking, it’s important to prioritize comfort and avoid experiencing pain or foot swelling for the rest of the day. By selecting appropriate footwear, females, and males can ensure a more enjoyable and comfortable college visit experience.

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Other Items to Consider

When preparing for a college visit, college admission consultants encourage students and parents to be ready for any unpredictable moment. The day of the visit is often supposed to be a high of 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29.4 degrees Celsius), and suddenly, it is raining all day long. You are encouraged to bring the following for your next college visit:

  • Extra pairs of socks
  • Sunglasses
  • Bottle of water to stay hydrated
  • Sunscreen to protect against UVA/UBA rays
  • Additional pair of comfortable shoes or boots
  • An extra comfortable outfit
  • A hair tie or scrunchie for your hair
  • Additional pair of gloves/scarf/earmuffs if you are visiting when there is snow
  • A camera or phone that can take good pictures
  • A small notebook

What to Wear on a College Tour If You’re on a Guided Tour

When participating in a guided tour, it is acceptable to adopt slightly casual attire. The goal is not to impress others but to prioritize comfort and exude self-confidence.

It is essential to wear comfortable shoes, although opting for a more presentable option than your worn-out sneakers is advisable. Ensure that the shoes you choose have been broken in, so you can avoid dealing with discomfort or blisters halfway through the day. After all, if your feet are in pain, it becomes more challenging to focus on the tour.

Jeans and t-shirts are perfectly acceptable attire, but being cautious of offensive slogans or images is essential. Even if you don’t find curse words or scantily clad individuals problematic, it’s best to avoid such clothing as it may not create the desired first impression.

While there is no need to dress extravagantly, it’s worthwhile to put in a little effort. Present yourself as your best self, showcasing the version of you that you want others to see as you embark on your college journey.

body_meetingIf you are 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 seize the opportunity of being on campus to schedule appointments with advisers or professors in their chosen field of study. If you have made such arrangements, it is advisable to dress slightly more formally than you would for a regular tour, although formal attire is unnecessary.

Regarding footwear, opt for polished shoes that balance style and comfort. If you anticipate discomfort or pinching while walking around campus, consider choosing a more casual option such as boat shoes, loafers, or boots. Regardless of your choice, ensure that your shoes are well broken in.

For a meeting with a professor, dark, nice jeans are appropriate. Alternatively, you can opt for corduroys or khakis, depending on what makes you feel most comfortable and confident.

Remember that a meeting with a professor is more professional than a tour but not as formal as a college interview. Instead of a T-shirt, opt for something classier, such as a button-up shirt or blouse. While a blazer is unnecessary, go for it if it boosts your confidence!

Above all, come prepared with thoughtful questions and a positive attitude. This is your chance to gather valuable information about the school you aspire to attend, which holds more significance than trying to achieve a model-like appearance.

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What To Wear To A College Visit If You Have An Interview

When preparing for a college interview, dressing in business casual attire is recommended. It’s important to project confidence and professionalism, so invest some extra time in selecting the appropriate shirt and pants compared to a regular campus tour or meeting with a professor.

If your visit includes walking around the campus in addition to the interview, ensure that your shoes are not only stylish but also capable of withstanding extended periods of walking. Consider opting for loafers instead of dress shoes, unless you are confident that your dress shoes have been adequately broken in and will remain comfortable for an hour or two.

Choose a skirt, khakis, corduroy pants, or similar bottoms, paired with a button-up shirt or blouse. If you prefer wearing dresses, cover your shoulders with a sweater or blazer. Keep your skirt length around your knees, especially if you anticipate a lot of walking. Pantyhose or tights are unnecessary if they are uncomfortable or unsuitable for the season.

Take into account the weather and season when selecting your outfit. Layer your clothes during fall or winter visits to maintain a presentable appearance for the interview while staying warm outside. In spring and summer, opt for light and breathable fabrics to prevent overheating, as you wouldn’t want to arrive at your interview looking flushed and sweaty.

If you have both an interview and a tour scheduled, it’s worth considering bringing a change of clothes. Presenting yourself best during the interview may warrant changing into fresh attire. Alternatively, schedule the consultation before the tour to avoid appearing tired and disheveled from a full day of exploring.

How To Pick What To Wear On A College Tour

The outfit choice depends on the activities you’ll be engaged in during your visit. Unless you have an interview or audition, there’s no need to rush and buy an entirely new wardrobe.

Experiment with different clothing combinations and focus on finding outfits that make you feel comfortable and confident. Remember, your main objective is to learn more about the campus, not to impress your tour guide. Put in some effort, but avoid going overboard.

It’s crucial to emphasize that you’ll be doing a lot of walking, so wear comfortable shoes that have already been broken in.

Bring a bag with you, whether a stylish messenger bag or a clean and classy backpack. This will provide you with a convenient place to store the information materials, pamphlets, and other items you’ll receive during the visit. Additionally, your bag can hold essentials like a water bottle, snacks, and a notebook for jotting down any questions or notes that arise during the tour.

Don’t stress too much about your outfit. Remember that you’ll be part of a group, and unless you have an interview or audition, your primary focus should be on the knowledge and experiences you gain during the visit. Aim to appear clean and confident, and you’ll have everything you need for a successful college exploration.

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Finally, Be You!!

Regardless of the event’s formality, feel free to add your unique style to your outfits.  Colleges want to see how you will add to their school and what makes you unique.  When accommodated with your skills and knowledge, your style is one way to express that.


Choosing the proper attire for a college campus visit is an opportunity to present yourself positively and show respect for the institution. Dressing neatly, comfortably, and appropriately is vital. Opt for business casual or smart casual attire that reflects a slightly dressier version of your everyday style.

Consider the weather and location, and adapt your clothing choices accordingly. While being respectful and mindful of the occasion is important, don’t forget to stay true to your style.

By balancing professionalism and comfort, you’ll be well-prepared to make a lasting impression during your college visit. Remember, your outfit is just one piece of the puzzle—confidence, enthusiasm, and genuine interest in the campus and its community are equally important aspects of the visit.


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