Is Prom Only For Seniors? Well let’s find out, shall we?
A prom (promenade dance) is a high school dance party for the students usually held at the end of the school year. In these prom dances, honorary titles by the name, “prom queen” and “prom king” may be given to the chosen two either based on their level of popularity in that school, participation in school events, sports, or other extra curriculum activities.
Proms reflect a milestone event and have taken the description “bigger than life” among many high school students worldwide.
The names used to refer to these dances at that time of the year vary in different countries i.e. school formal, ball, and so forth.
Normally, boys wear a formal outfit like a tuxedo or something semi-formal. Girls will adorn themselves with jewelry, an evening gown, and almost like a tradition, a corsage that is given to them by their dates to adorn their arm.
The girls, in turn, gift the boys a boutonnière to wear on the lapels of their tuxedos. This does not mean one must be accompanied by a date.
The pressure of having someone during prom makes people choose a not-so-special someone as a date. Some go alone and better yet, decide to attend prom as a group of friends that might turn out to be more fun and less limiting like sticking to one person the whole night.
It also keeps your dance card open to anyone, and gives you all the time in the world and opening to enjoy your night however you want.
However, proms are not for everyone. Some schools will hold proms for seniors only, juniors only or seniors and juniors, some will include outside guests with an age limit, or even include underclassmen; leading to the infamous question; who can go to prom? And is it only for seniors?
Who Are The Seniors?
Senior year is popularly known as the twelfth grade or grade 12 in most countries. In most of America, it is the final year of high school.
Other countries might not have the 12th grade or might go up to grade 13. Either way, senior year is always the year of graduation, the year of finalizing high school.
Worldwide, the age of anyone in the senior year ranges between 17 and 18 years.
Who are the juniors?
Juniors, also known as upperclassmen, applies to anyone in the eleventh grade, especially in the United States of America and Canada.
It is usually the third year of your high school experience right before your senior year.
Naturally, there are exceptions but in most areas, an eleventh grader or a junior year student is normally between 16 to 17 years of age.
The age bracket allowed to prom
As usual, the age limit varies in different schools, areas and even countries. Most of them though, allow students to bring a date who does not go to the school or a guest as long as their age is within the age bracket.
The most common upper age limit is 21 years but it ranges between 19 to 21 years. The lowest age limit is 16 years in most schools. In fact, it is illegal to bring anyone above the age of 21.
By imposing this age limit, they facilitate a safe and age-appropriate environment.
They also argue that since 21 years is the drinking age, they older ones might open a door for the underage to drink. It is almost like an invitation to drink or sneak in alcohol.
16 years being the lowest age limit for people who can attend a prom dance, juniors automatically belong to that list.
Most institutions allow the juniors to attend prom together with the seniors. When asked if they would rather have their own prom dance, most seniors in various schools lit up at the idea.
They would prefer to have a dance where it is just the seniors since they are leaving. They also argue that juniors would get their chance during their senior year.
Prom to them is a once-in-a-lifetime occasion. An event you get to remember forever and not something that should be an everyday thing making it relinquish its power.
You would end up comparing a current prom to the previous one when it should be a special night for all of you, where everyone is having fun without having to compare because there will be nothing to compare it to.
Therefore including juniors who would later on have their prom dance in their senior year again, made no sense at all. It literally did not sit well with most.
The few who fought this sentiment were seniors who had juniors as their dates. This was so because, you are allowed to choose a date from anywhere as long they are within age limit, just not a fellow student who is an underclassman (in most schools).
However, a number of juniors do not usually attend the junior prom primarily because they have the senior prom to look forward to.
It makes sense at times since the school does not treat junior prom the same as the senior prom. There is usually more budget going to the senior prom as compared to the junior prom or the venues differ. The students who attend both probably spend less on the junior prom and more on the senior prom being their last event in high school and with friends.
Whether they view the junior prom as less significant than the senior prom, there are certainly advantages to both.
Better yet, reasons why it is the most momentous night for many young people.
- Unforgettable memories – the prom night is an instant and constant reflection immediately one joins high school.
It is a big event that most look forward to and once it arrives, most students treat it like it is the biggest night of their lives.
Starting from the part where you are looking for a date to prom night like it is your only chance to dating, to the kind of preparations that take place.
Planning for THE outfit becomes almost nerve-wracking. Some even rent a limousine or a special car that they can drive to the prom.
Probably even have a chauffeur to drive them. Memories begin from the preparation when you go shopping with your friends, talking endlessly about it, all the way to the “after-prom.”
There is always an after-party that comes right after the prom, either for the night or the whole weekend.
- Last night with friends and classmates – well, we all know it is definitely not the last night you ever see them, but it is for most of them.
It is also probably the last time you get to experience something this big with your classmates and friends.
You cannot control the ‘good-bye' but you can control how you say it and where and it should be somewhere fun, in a fun way; which takes me to the next reason.
- It is fun – having had such stressful school years, anxious about studies and exams, and applying to colleges, you deserve a night where school is not any of these anymore.
Everyone loves a good time with people they cherish and prom accounts for that with all the dancing, enjoying with your friends and taking pictures to keep the memories alive.
The most awaited part of the prom is the after party that is definitely fun and done by all but it is also as dangerous. Especially unchaperoned.
Some will also have sleepovers as long as the parents are okay with it.
- Avoiding “fear of missing out” – this is a thing among young people who want to try out everything out of the fear of missing out.
As much as it is not a valid reason to do anything, you really do not want to hear stories about how awesome the night was from people and feel terrible about having missed out.
The worst that can happen would be feeling like you are out of place which is rare.
And if you do feel like that, you can always leave having given it a shot.
Final Thoughts: Is Prom Only For Seniors?
In my opinion, a promenade dance is a lifetime opportunity that should come once at the end of the school year, especially as a reward to completing your high school.
It also takes a certain level of maturity that the underclassmen need to develop with time during the school years.
A lot goes to the preparation of the prom therefore requiring a sense of responsibility in the students supposed to attend prom.
Other than that, the age and emotional gap is not supposed to be wide for easier interaction and safety. Underclassmen would feel a little bit overwhelmed in a party where only seniors are supposed to be while having dates of over 20 years.
This might include juniors too in some schools but in conclusion, the underclassmen should not be allowed to prom unless as a date to an upperclassman which is not as common and against the rules in a few institutions.
Everyone loves having the rare special moments with their classmates though.
Thus in another perception, two enjoyable life events wouldn't hurt!