Student Handbook – Preclinical Veterinary Medical Student Dress

The capacity of students and faculty as individuals and the College as an institution to compete successfully for professional and economic recognition is determined largely by public perception of our competence, self confidence, professional pride, and caring attitude. These important perceptions are based frequently upon superficial first impressions of appearance and communication skills.

The College, the Profession, and each of us mold our futures with every personal contact. It is important that each of us act, speak, write, dress and look like we know what we are doing; perform as if we are concerned that we do it well; and communicate concern for the feelings of people and their animals.

The most effective response to present and future economic challenges is personal and institutional Public Relations through Individual Dedication to Excellence (PRIDE). Because appearances are vital, we appeal to your personal and professional PRIDE by urging your voluntary compliance with the attached student and faculty guidelines for professional pride.

Preclinical (Instructional Periods 1-11) Veterinary Medical Student Dress

While in the College, students should be tidy and clean, maintain a personal appearance suitable to represent the profession to the public, and demonstrate polite concern for the needs of others. This includes maintaining personal hygiene by regularly showering, brushing teeth, and practicing good grooming habits. Clean, well-kept clothing is desired. Lab coats and other clothing items are to be laundered frequently to give a clean, presentable appearance. Comfortable, professional-looking shoes are recommended. Strong fragrances should be minimized to not offend those with sensitivities or allergies.

Unacceptable dress includes bare feet, sports bras as a sole top garment, and pajamas. Unacceptable articles of clothing that include inappropriate language, vulgar imaging, shirts baring the midriff, shirts that bare shoulders (3 finger length or 1.65 inches in strap width are acceptable). Wearing hats or caps is unacceptable during class time. Any apparel that is excessively dirty, odoriferous, or otherwise distracting is unacceptable. Coveralls are not acceptable. Undergarments should not be visible through clothing at any time.

Scrubs are acceptable in class colors that are determined by the class executive board, and the following colors: black, charcoal, navy blue, and patterns. (Avoid color selections that designate service sections in VHC.)  Scrubs MUST be clean (example of times when scrubs would be considered unclean: wearing anatomy lab scrubs to class or wearing hospital scrubs to class after a shift, etc.). Leggings, yoga pants, and sweatpants are acceptable such that the material cannot be seen through. Clothes that have been distressed (holes, rips, etc.) are unacceptable in the lab, but acceptable elsewhere if they are not revealing above mid-thigh. Shorts are acceptable if the buttocks and groin area are fully covered. Athletic clothes are acceptable if they fit the previous criteria. Clothing must fit so that inappropriate exposure does not occur during normal activities.

If a student is unsure about an article of clothing, they should confirm it is acceptable with a Spirit Representative first. If a student needs to break the dress code for work, health, or an emergency situation, Spirit Representatives should be contacted.

Enforcement Times

The dress code does not apply to weekends or after hours (5:00 pm – 6:00 am). Club meetings and other events held at the college will also require attendees to be dress code compliant. Off campus meetings do not have a dress code unless otherwise stated.

Revised November 2023 with input from SAVMA, Class of 2026, and the Office of Student Affairs.