First Impressions Count: College Admissions and Job Interviews

Look at someone you don’t know.

Now quickly look away.

Who was the person that you looked at? What assumptions did you come to after a brief glance?

Did you notice what they were wearing: the color or style of their hair, if they had piercings in the nose, lip, or eyebrow? Was their clothing conservative or more suggestive? Did their body language express anything in particular to you? What conclusions did you draw with just a momentary look?

First impressions happen in an instant and you can’t take them back. It is important to understand the implications of how you present yourself in various situations. Whether we like it or not, people quickly judge people based on what they see. Sometimes, after meeting someone, our original opinions of a person may change, but if the first impression is one that pushes people away, it is important to understand the implications of how you choose to look. It is not a matter of beauty or stylishness. Your presentation may vary depending on where and what you are doing.

When you prepare for a college admissions interview or for a job, make sure that you present yourself in a manner that is congruent with the situation in which you are hoping to become a part of.  This doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your personal style when applying to college or getting a job, but it does mean that you think and plan appropriately for the situation.

The fact is that first impressions can work to help or hinder you. Just be aware that you have choices to make and can gain control about what kind of first impression you make on others. Make sure the first impression is the one you want to make, because it only take a few seconds!

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