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Homecoming Vs Prom: What’s The Difference?

Although the homecoming and prom are two of the most important events in any American life, many don’t really know the difference between them. After all, they are very similar. Is there any difference between the homecoming and prom?

Yes, there are! The homecoming happens at the start of the school year to welcome back everyone both in high school and college. However, the prom only happens in high school and during the spring, being a bit more formal.

It seems pretty simple to understand the difference between the homecoming and prom, but there is more than meets the eye. Let’s see some details that make these events different from each other.

The Real Difference Between Homecoming And Prom

As it was told earlier, the homecoming is an event made to welcome back everyone, including teachers and students. Depending on each school, it can be different, but it is usually a week-long event full of school spirit. A big football game against the school’s rivals is as essential as the homecoming dance.

The students can ask someone to dance with them during the homecoming dance. Although this tradition is not as formal or vital as asking someone to go to prom with you, it is still quite special and cute. A homecoming is a semi-formal event that is very inclusive and open to all grades.

The first difference between the homecoming and prom is that the prom happens during the spring. It is a formal event and one of the most important during your high school years. There’s no prom at the university as well. Only the upper-level students, such as juniors and seniors, can attend the prom. Unless, of course, the first-year students get asked to come.

Inviting someone to prom with you is a big deal for most Americans. This is seen very seriously, and the person you ask is your mate for the evening, so they’ll dance with you and spend a lot of time next to you. The experience is not always positive, unfortunately.

Each school has a prom budget since this is the students’ most awaited event of the year. The prom can have different themes and traditions depending on the school, but generally, it is a formal event with a slow-dance moment.

What Is The Point Of Homecoming?

The point of homecoming is welcoming back, or for the first time, all students and teachers from a certain school. It is a moment when everyone can enjoy themselves together since all classes are allowed. The event is usually made to welcome former students back, especially in the colleges.

There’s a lot to do there. You can meet people or hang out with your friends. Also, the first dance of the year happens during the homecoming. Even recently-graduated seniors come back to enjoy this moment.

The tradition started at colleges back in the 20th century. The universities would have their first football game in the year, and the alumni would use this opportunity to go back and visit their former campuses.

No one knows which college was responsible for it, but Baylor University, the University of Missouri, and the University of Illinois began hosting homecoming events in 1909, 1911, and 1910, respectively.

What Happens At Homecoming?

Many activities happened during the homecoming since this is usually a week-long event. Some are traditional and happen in every school and college, while some are local. You can certainly expect a dance and the coronation of the homecoming queen and king.

Some activities that may or may not happen are the first football game of the year against a school’s rival, treats, treasure hunts, and even a parade. Many schools are giving more attention to the homecoming, so nowadays it has similar activities to the prom, although usually, the prom is still more expensive and elaborated.

Homecoming is a semi-casual event, so it isn’t as rigid as the prom. The activities can be very diverse. Remember that everyone is invited to the homecoming, so some activities are age-targeted while some are not.

Why Do They Call It Homecoming In High School?

The name was choosen due to the event’s objective, which is welcome back students and professors. Homecoming is an event of coming home or returning to your home.

In the United States, especially in the past, there’s this cultural tradition of considering your school (especially your college) your second home, so the name is not strange to them. It makes a lot of sense since the homecoming also welcomes former students and professors.

  • It happens during the first week of classes;
  • It welcomes back former students of a certain school or college;
  • It is a semi-formal event;
  • A big football game against a school’s rival is traditional;
  • All classes are invited;
  • It happens during the spring, usually at the end of classes;
  • It only happens during high school;
  • Only the seniors and sometimes the juniors are invited;
  • It is a formal event;

Is Homecoming For All Grades?

Yes, it is! Everyone in high school can come to the homecoming event. Even former students are more than welcome to go and have fun at it.

What Grade Do You Go To Prom?

Prom happens during the last year of high school, so only seniors are usually invited, but sometimes juniors are invited. Of course, if you are invited by a senior to go as their company, you may go independent of your grade.

Do Freshmen Attend Prom?

No. It may happen if a senior invite them to go as their company, but overall, first-year students are not invited to the prom. Most schools have two proms in the school year: one for the juniors (11th grade) and one for the seniors (12th grade), but they can be combined.

What Is A Homecoming Queen?

The homecoming queen is an honorary title awarded to students elected in a school-wide vote before the event. Some schools also have the homecoming princess and prince. Usually, the queen and king titles are awarded to the students who are completing their final years of study at their school, while the titles of princess and prince are given to students who are starting at their school.

Nowadays, some high schools are adding new titles such as duke and duchess to include a category in which students with special needs are elected. The whole homecoming queen and king tradition has been debated and questioned but is still a loved tradition and very important to several students.

It is a tradition that the previous year’s queen and king are invited to crown their successors. Since the homecoming is a week-long event, the big announcement comes at different events depending on the school. It can come during a pep rally, public ceremony, school assembly, etc. The queen is crowned first, followed by the king. The method varies a lot, though.

In a single-sex high school or college, only a queen or king is usually crowned. However, some choose to join single-sex schools of the other gender to elect their homecoming court together.

What Is The Prom Queen?

The promenade dance, commonly known as prom, also has the tradition of crowning students. They are called prom queen and king, although other honorary titles can also be given. Choosing each queen and king is basically the same as the homecoming court.

Overall, the awarded students are the most popular. The crowning method varies, but the “winners” usually receive a crown they wear during the event. Since the popular kids are the ones who always get the crown, this tradition has been debated a lot recently, and many movies and TV shows have been criticizing it.

James Smith

James is a passionate explorer and the creative mind behind, a platform dedicated to unraveling captivating distinctions. With an insatiable curiosity, he uncovers hidden nuances in various aspects of life, from cultural traditions to scientific phenomena. James believes that appreciating differences fosters personal growth and societal empathy.