Great Gifts for College-Bound Students

Whether as graduation presents or good-luck gifts, there are a number of items helpful for the college-bound student. Here are just a few of the best gifts for college students starting their freshman year:

Noise-Canceling Headphones

Useful for drowning out noise so students can study, or roommate’s snoring so they can sleep, noise-canceling headphones can help students focus by making the world around them a little quieter.

Bath Robe and Shower Flip-Flops

Odds are students will be using communal dorm showers. Shuffling up the hallway in a bathroom is a lot more comfortable than just tying a towel around them. And they’re going to be needing dedicated shower flip-flops. Just trust me.

New Backpack

In high school, students get lockers to haul books and materials from room to room. In college, they don’t. A sturdy and well-padded backpack can be heaven-sent. Something that’s comfortable to lug books and laptops around, and can last at least four years is ideal.

Coffee Maker or Electric Kettle

Coffee maker or tea pot - best gifts for college students

Flickr user Chris

Early classes or late-night study sessions call for caffeine. Having a coffee/tea maker in their dorm room is not only convenient, but can save a lot of money in the long run. Just make sure that the dorm guidelines allow these appliances first.

Gift Cards

Gift cards are a true classic. For college students, these are highly coveted—especially if they relate to food. But other helpful gift cards can be for gas, travel, clothing stores, bookstores, music or movie streaming services, and plenty more.

College Logo Gear

My mom always said, “You can never have too much Hawkeye gear.” And she was right. No matter your mascot or college, it’s nice to have school spirit materials. T-shirts, banners, lanyards, hats, notebooks/folders, jackets, bags, jewelry, rugs, temporary tattoos for games, winter gear, the options are pretty endless.

Wallet / ID Case

Students will have to carry cash, cards, and IDs around, and a new wallet or ID case is perfect for doing just that. Many colleges will have logo-themed ones available as well.

Laundry Gear

Flickr user m01229

College is typically the first time students are in charge of their own weekly laundry chores. Therefore, a laundry kit is a great gift: a sturdy laundry bag, a hamper, fabric softener, detergent, dryer sheets, and stain remover.


Many students use lanyards to carry their dorm, mail, and other keys around. Some will have clip-able bus passes or proxy cards as well. Lanyards are a nice way to keep materials in one place.

Portable Charger

Students use their phones a lot. It’s connected to email, calendars, the internet, notes, music, contacts, pictures, and more. Battery life is precious, so give the gift of an extended one with a portable phone charger.

Water Bottle

Flickr user TEDxPhotos

Trekking across campus can make a person thirsty. Staying hydrated is important to keep up health in college, and a nice portable water-bottle is great for doing just that.

Dorm Gear

The dorm is home away from home. While there may not be a ton of room for stuff, there’s plenty of gear you can get a college-bound student. Blankets, bed sheets, a shower caddy, posters, rugs, picture frames, decorative lights, a desk lamp, pillows, curtains, first aid kit, dishware, and more.

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