Homecoming Week: Traditions International Students Should Know

Homecoming Week

The fall season on college campuses bursts forth with a wealth of events and activities. As the leaves turn brilliant colors and a sense of anticipation fills the air, a wave of new students arrives. They brim with excitement to make connections and unravel the mysteries of campus life. For international students, this task is a little more difficult due to their different cultural backgrounds. But there’s one gem of an experience that these students in particular should do their best not to miss: Homecoming Week

Keep reading to find out why it deserves a prime spot on your college calendar.

What Is Homecoming Week?

The Homecoming tradition is a cherished part of American campus life. It starts in the fall, usually, in September or October. It’s a giant party to celebrate coming back to one’s beloved college. The event is a special time for everyone – students, faculty, and alumni – to come together to celebrate the awesomeness of their school.

Long ago, in the early 1900s, the Homecoming event ritual began as a way for alumni to return to their alma maters and reconnect with their college buddies. To this day, it is a huge event that gets the whole campus buzzing with positive vibes and fun.

Whether you are a freshman or a senior, you’ll be welcome at this bash! As for the Homecoming dress code, each school has its own rules, but usually, a semi-formal style is what you should wear to join the group of Homecoming partygoers.

What Goes Down During Homecoming Week: Your Ultimate Guide to the Action

It’s time to spill the beans on what’s going on during the legendary Homecoming week!

Typical Activities of Homecoming Week

  • Sports showdowns that’ll make you cheer. Homecoming week is a time to celebrate your college teams. Cheers, chants – it’s a sporting extravaganza that will have you on the edge of your seat.
  • Electric parades rock the streets. School Homecoming parades can be a lively dance of colorful floats, marching bands pumping out tunes that’ll make your feet tap, and a bunch of students decked out in all sorts of crazy costumes. It’s basically a street party that marches to the beat of pure excitement.
  • Pep rallies: Get energized. Pep rallies are the ultimate energy boosters. These gatherings are all about cranking up the school spirit. You’ve got cheerleaders whipping crowds up into a frenzy, athletes strutting their stuff, and a whole crowd of students bringing the noise. It’s a homecoming tradition that’ll have you ready to conquer the world.
  • Tailgating: Feasting fit for champions. Imagine a mini carnival right before the big game. That’s tailgating for you! Folks gather around in the parking lot with grills sizzling, music pumping, and a spread of mouthwatering eats. It’s a pre-game party that’s all about good food, good company, and getting hyped for the action on the field.
  • Homecoming dance: Let’s groove! The homecoming dance is like the grand finale of the week marked by the long-awaited dance of the Homecoming King and Queen. Expect great music, dazzling lights, and memories that will make you smile for years to come.

Homecoming vs. Prom: A Side-by-Side Comparison

For international students who are not familiar with American culture, Homecoming and Prom may seem like very similar events. But they’re not. So what’s the difference between Homecoming and Prom? Here’s the scoop on the two big hitters on the school events calendar – Homecoming and Prom.

  1. Fancy clothes. Whether it’s a Homecoming celebration or Prom, you’ll be strutting your style in snazzy outfits that turn heads.
  2. Dancing. Both events are all about hitting the dance floor and busting your best moves.
  3. Memories. You’ll be making unforgettable memories with friends, capturing moments that’ll be talked about for years.

Focus and Timing

Celebrates the whole school community with spirited activities, usually in the fall.Focuses on soon-to-be graduates and often takes place in the spring as a glamorous finale.


A week-long extravaganza featuring pep rallies, games, and a bustling atmosphere.A single elegant evening, more intimate and sophisticated.


Energetic and spirited, emphasizing school pride and unity.Romantic and elegant, creating a formal yet enchanting ambiance.

Homecoming Traditions in 5 Different Colleges

Homecoming week isn’t just about the big game – it’s a vibrant tapestry of traditions, excitement, and unity. Let’s explore some of the most captivating events and activities from different colleges that make Homecoming Week a time to remember.

  • Gator Growl (University of Florida)

At the University of Florida, Homecoming kicks off with a bang – the largest student-run pep rally in the nation. The stage is set for a dazzling pageant and a vibrant parade that floods the streets with school pride.

  • Tigerama (Clemson University)

Clemson’s Homecoming is a week-long extravaganza that builds up to Tigerama, one of the country’s grandest student-run pep rallies. Picture skits that’ll have you rolling with laughter, fireworks lighting up the night sky, and the crowning of Miss Homecoming.

  • Hobo Day (South Dakota State University)

South Dakota State’s Homecoming is a century-old tradition that knows how to stand out. Hobo Day is all about embracing the offbeat – from the One-Month Club challenge to painting local businesses. It’s a spirited affair that captures the heart of Jackrabbit pride.

  • Spirit Splash (University of Central Florida)

Hold onto your swim trunks because UCF’s Spirit Splash is all about jumping into a reflecting pool to show your unwavering devotion to the Knights’ football team. With cheerleaders and the Marching Knights adding to the high-energy atmosphere, it’s a wet and wild homecoming tradition of school spirit!

  • Lighting the Y (Brigham Young University)

At BYU, the Homecoming celebration means hiking up Y Mountain and lighting up the iconic “Y” with bulbs. This is a tradition that goes beyond a simple hike – it’s about camaraderie, unity, and honoring the college traditions.

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Steven Bloom
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Steven is an IT student who constantly seeks new opportunities for self-development. He is also fond of popular culture and entertainment. Lately, Steven has started writing about the challenges he faces as a student. He finds it helpful to brainstorm when difficult tasks arise.