The five differences between college and high school homecomings

Kassandra Reyna, a third-year human resources management major, participates in the homecoming casino night event.

Kassandra Reyna, a third-year human resources management major, participates in the homecoming casino night event.

Abigail Sullivan

Abigail Sullivan

Kassandra Reyna, a third-year human resources management major, participates in the homecoming casino night event.

Colleen Anderson, Managing Editor

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It’s impossible to deny that homecoming is one of the bigger events at the University of Toledo, filled with floats, free food and a cornucopia of school-themed events. While students may be familiar with homecoming festivities in high school, they aren’t quite the same. From attire to activities, there are five key differences between high school and college homecoming.

  1. The focus

In high school it’s all about the big dance. Whether or not you took a date, you probably spent multiple hours getting ready and went to dinner with a group of friends. Picking a date for the dance was a big deal and there was a significant amount of pressure for couples to find the cutest way to ask each other to the dance.

In college it’s all about the big game. The tailgates beforehand are wild with students blowing off steam after a week of classes and pumping up for the football game that night. While high school homecomings have a game as well, there’s no denying that the intensity gets amped up 100 percent at the collegiate level.

  1. What you wear

For girls in high school, dress shopping was half the fun as you went to store after store looking for the perfect one. Meanwhile, guys were out buying or renting a tux and picking out a tie to match their date’s outfit. The whole process of picking out corsages and heels and matching accessories all built up to the photo sessions that groups of friends took before the dance itself.

Once you hit college, the pressure to look glamorous on homecoming drops to zero. It’s all about decking out in school spirit-themed gear for the game — whether that means getting a hoodie or slathering on the gold and blue face paint. At UT, you can wear whatever you want as long as it’s gold and blue.

  1. How long it lasts

If you count getting a group together, finding a dress or tux and taking photos, high school homecoming takes anywhere from one to two weeks. However, the event itself only lasts for two nights — the game and the dance.

In college, there’s a whole week of activities centered on that year’s theme. For UT, no matter what other events might change from year to year, we can always plan on the homecoming parade marching through the area around Main Campus. Various student groups participate, some marching along, others creating floats to show off. This year’s ‘Rocket Road Trip’ theme has everything from a casino night to a field day planned for the students to pump them up for the main event.

  1. The homecoming court

Depending on what high school you went to, choosing the homecoming king and queen was probably a mixed bag. Maybe for some it was a casual event and writing a random name on a slip for the ballot box. For others, it might have been an intense campaign based on the popularity of the students involved.

At UT, the homecoming candidates have to be at each event of the week to let students get to know their options. After that, it’s up to the students to vote if they want to.

  1. The reason behind it all

At the end of the day, high school homecoming was your night. You got to focus on your outfit, your date and your friends. You even got to enjoy yourself and take a break from high school life for a few days. For that whole weekend, you could pretend that school wasn’t going to restart on Monday.

In college, it’s about school pride and UT’s community. Alumni flock back to their alma mater to remember their own college days and see how far the college has come. From cheering for your team at the game to walking in the parade with other students, every event is meant to immerse you in the experience.

Despite the differences between high school and college homecoming, both give you a chance to interact with your school community while taking a break from school. In high school, you get to have the time of your life with your friends. In college, you get to remember why you chose to become a Rocket.

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The five differences between college and high school homecomings