With interview season underway, UC San Diego students are scrambling to apply, get, and pass interviews in the hopes of bigger and better job or graduate opportunities. Many students just have to wonder what outfit to wear, how to answer questions, and how to get there, but this is not true for everyone. Unfortunately, some UCSD students are also concerned about dressing appropriate business attire in the first place.
To date, none of the UCSD resource centers provide professional clothing and accessories for the student caisse. Yet resource centers exist to support underserved populations on campus who face traditional barriers to higher education and better-paying careers. Having maintenance accessories and clothing available at checkout at UCSD resource centers would increase the upward mobility of underserved UCSD students, especially those trying to enter competitive fields and industries. like medicine or finance. Therefore, UCSD Resource Centers should consider integrating this resource to better fulfill their duty to students.
Offering professional clothing and accessories available at the cash desk in resource centers will increase the chances of upward mobility for students in financial difficulty because of the importance of dress in the hiring and selection process. For most interviews, casual or work clothes are essential; the more competitive the position and the better paid the field, the more the company relies on dress code to signal professional competence. In fact, the clothes you wear affect getting to these positions more than you might think.
Research studies evaluating the impact of clothing, such as a study by Dr. Jane E. Workman, “Effects of Appropriate and Inappropriate Dress on Personal Arrangements Assignments”, demonstrate that for many higher paying positions, a respondent’s lack of professional wear and tear negatively impacts his chances of being selected. Workman’s study found that a lack of appropriate work clothing signaled hiring managers that these candidates were not serious about the job. This study also suggests that similar patterns may also affect graduate and vocational school admission interviews. Thus, allowing students to verify proper professional attire would minimize distractions unrelated to their character, skills or abilities.
In addition, wearing business-appropriate clothing also shapes candidates’ perceptions of themselves and their abilities. A study shows that for many people, proper attire increases confidence levels and performance. By specifically extrapolating this study to the interviews, these results imply that respondents without conventional dress face even greater disadvantages compared to other candidates; not having the appropriate professional attire and accessories also psychologically disadvantages the ability of these candidates to represent themselves. Overall, the psychological impact of using a sophisticated $ 30 UCSD wallet, wearing a nice belt, or wearing a clean suit jacket can increase a candidate’s ability to do recognize their talents because of their effect on the perception of others and on candidates’ own estimates. .
There are financial downsides to providing this resource to students, but the benefits to students outweigh the cost. For example, some may argue that providing work clothes and access for the student fund would divert funds from other programs due to the cost of dry cleaning and purchasing the items. However, there are several financially viable ways to implement this program. A few options include soliciting donations for clothing and items, purchasing quality second-hand clothing, charging a small fee to offset the cost of dry cleaning services, and raising funds to support the program.
Another argument opponents can make is that few students would benefit from the program and therefore not worth it. In reality, recent statistics on UCSD students suggest otherwise. For example, this year, 40 percent of the incoming class are from low-income households. This resource would benefit low-income students and their families by alleviating some of the financial burden of work clothes. By not having to buy all the work clothes and pay to maintain these items along with the dry cleaning, students and their families have more money for other things like meeting basic needs and purchase of school necessities.
Additionally, without such a program, students may have little choice but to purchase and don less work attire than a given employer or recruiter expects from a serious candidate. For example, due to the cost, a student may forgo purchasing a costume and face the aforementioned social penalty in the eyes of the interviewer for doing so. Students may also be forced to avoid opportunities that require professional attire.
UCSD’s resource centers have enormous potential to continue improving the socio-economic status of students while they are in university and even after graduation. Providing UCSD students with cheap or free work clothes and accessories to check out has obvious benefits and will become increasingly relevant as the campus welcomes more underserved students.