Can 9th Graders (Freshmen) Go to Prom and Homecoming?

Prom and Homecoming are the top two dances in the whole school year that most high school kids want to go to, and enjoy going to. However, these dances may limit the participants who are allowed to go to Prom and Homecoming.

At most schools, 9th graders (Freshmen) can go to Homecoming, but they cannot go to prom. Homecoming includes all grades, freshmen through seniors, although it typically consists of the older classes. Prom is another dance specifically set aside for Juniors and Seniors. However, rules can vary school to school.

Although this may be disappointing for Freshmen to realize that they can’t go to prom now, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to prepare for it in the future, and plan for Homecoming as well!

Can a Freshman go to prom with an Upperclassman?

There are a few general stipulations that have to be said first: For one, this completely depends on the school if Freshman are allowed to go to prom if they are asked by an upperclassman. (Source) There are schools who will not allow Freshmen the opportunity schools are pretty lenient and allow this, although it’s not preferable to have Freshmen go to a Junior or Senior prom. (Source)

However, in a general sense, yes, Freshmen can go to prom with an upperclassman, but it’s recommended that they put down the fact that they are just going as friends. There are a couple reasons why this is highly recommended to happen:

  • No expectations
  • No hurt feelings
  • No drama

The expectations of romance, and getting into a freshman’s head that the senior really likes them, will just make the night awkward, which will end up finishing the night in disappointment, and possibly tears. This also ties into the hurt feelings. When the Freshman knows that he/she will go out with their Senior date as friends, there are no expectations of romance or special attention, and hopefully will result in a lot of fun.

Drama is everywhere, especially in High School and especially during prom season. Setting a boundary as friends for the night will greatly lower the risk of drama in coming days – possibly weeks – and hopefully retain that strong friendship between the Freshman and Senior.

What Freshmen to Expect at Prom

If there is a Freshman who has been asked out to prom by an upperclassman and they don’t really know what to expect, here is a general overview: (Source)

  • Pre-prom photos
  • Pre-prom dinner
  • The Dance
  • After-Prom activities

Usually, prom is with a group of friends with their dates in their suits, ties, dresses, and flowers. Sometimes they’ll gather together in a lovely setting, like a park, and take pictures by themselves, with the couples, the girls, guys, and the whole group. Great way to save a precious memory.

After the group has been formed, there will be some dinner afterwards. This could be a fancy restaurant, or a fancy meal at someone’s house. Then, you go to the dance. Often, the dance starts during a Saturday night and may even go into the early morning hours of Sunday. So this is a long dance, but you are allowed to go in and leave whenever you feel like you need to.

After the dance, a lot of teens will want to continue to stay up and go to after-prom activities. A word of caution: be careful to which parties you attend, they may or may not be supervised and offer drugs and alcohol.

Differences between Prom and Homecoming


  • “Welcome back” to school
  • Football game
  • Casual or Semi-Formal
  • Dresses are shorter
  • Includes most of the School
    • Freshmen, Sophomore, Juniors, Seniors
    • Faculty, Staff
    • Alumni
  • Beginning of the School Year
  • Typically Week-Long Event
    • “Homecoming Week”
    • “Spirit Week”

Homecoming is more of a “Welcome Back to School” dance at the beginning of the school year, typically around September or October. (Source) This is an event that gets Seniors pumped and ready for the rest of the school year.

The dance is usually at the end of a week-long “Homecoming Week/Spirit Week” that many students and teachers participate in. The week usually ends with a Friday game night against the school’s rivals that leads into the dance later that night or on the following Saturday night.

Homecoming is for all grades, even teachers and alumni from previous years. It’s not a formal event, but the schools usually make it semi-formal if not casual during the dance. Even the dresses are different from prom dresses! Homecoming dresses are not only less formal, but shorter as well.


  • Formal
  • Dresses are longer
  • Only Seniors, sometimes Juniors
  • Around April or June
  • More expensive

Prom is the event of the year that many Seniors have been waiting since they first entered high school. Some even consider it the most important even of their whole High School career!

Prom is usually during the end of the school year, with Finals around the corner or being finished, so this event can also be a stress relief for many Seniors who are ready to be done and over with and move on to college.

Prom is much more expensive than Homecoming in many ways, for the school and for the students, because the schools often make reservations, or pick out a very fancy location for the dance to be held at. (Source) Also, the dresses for prom are way more expensive than expected for Homecoming dresses. The proms dresses are a lot longer – compared to Homecoming, prom dresses are a ball gown – and are made out of a lot of fabric and with intricate designs embedded to the skirts and tops.

Prom is an event mainly for Seniors, to celebrate their accomplishments, finishing High School, and moving on to college and the adult life. There are some schools who provide their Juniors a prom as well, but for Freshmen and Sophomores, there is not a prom dance for them. A reason this could be is because that they are beginning High School or in the middle of it, and they still have a few more years to go.