So they’re heading off to college. And you want to get them a special (useful) gift. What are the best types of gifts for college students? In this guide, you’ll find our handpicked choices for college students. They are for guys and girls and include unique, decor, food and food prep, technology and more.
64 Gifts for College Students
When your child heads off to college, you will likely feel proud but also a little sad. College kids are so busy with school and their new friends that they don’t always have time to see their families or talk to their loved ones back home.
An easy way to let the college student in your life know that you care is with a gift. You might buy a gift for a recent high school graduate heading off to college or for a loved one right before classes start. The best gifts for college students include some great ideas.
Best Gifts for College Students (Top Picks)
There are a few different things to think about before buying a gift for a college or university student, including what that student wants to study and what he or she likes to do. If you buy any of the top picks listed below, you’ll buy something that student absolutely loves.
Homesick Candle: States, Cities, Countries
There are multiple fragrances available from different states and regions that use scents of plants and flowers. Each candle has an average burn time of between 60 and 80 hours.
LapGear Extra Wide Lap Desk
It fits most laptops of up to 15 inches and has a dedicated holder for a cell phone. The desk also has fabric rollers on the base that keep its weight from pressing down on the student.
Fanchest: Curated College Sport Gift Box
You can pick from different colleges and universities and have a box filled with apparel and other fun gifts sent to a dorm room or apartment on or close to that campus.
MasterLock Outdoor Lock Box (Combination)
It has a small box that can hold a spare key and a place for the user to enter a code. They can pick a three-digit code they can easily remember and set the lock box to work with that code.
5-Ingredient College Cookbook
With the 5-Ingredient College Cookbook, you can introduce them to a whole new world of possibilities. This cookbook teaches them how they can make dishes their parents love from limited ingredients.
Marmot Travel Duffel Bag
It has a rain flap that blocks moisture and zippered pockets on the outside. The bag is small enough that it classifies as carry on luggage on flights too.
Amazon Prime Gift:
Amazon Prime is a great gift because you can buy one month of service or pay for a full year of service in advance. Prime users receive fast and free shipping on millions of products available on Amazon.
They also get access to thousands of television shows and movies that they can stream to consoles and other devices.
Cold Brew Coffee Maker
With this cold brew coffee maker, college kids can easily make cold brew coffee and iced tea. It holds up to one full liter of liquid and comes with an airtight lid that keeps those drinks fresh for up to two weeks.
Looking for more coffee gifts? Here’s another guide I wrote about the best gifts for coffee lovers.
Canon PowerShot SX620
It has a 25X optical zoom for getting as close as possible to the action and takes 20.2-megapixel photos and 1080 high-definition videos.
Here’s how to improve your travel photography.
More reading: How to Wrap a Present Perfectly
Gifts for College Guys
Guys attending college often prefer different gifts than girls attending college do.
You might buy a cookbook that gives him some ideas for dishes he can cook while away from home or a sweater that will remind him or you and keep him warm on those cold days and nights away at college.
College Man’s Cookbook
It includes 100 recipes that he can make with limited access to utensils and appliances, including grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and killer meatballs with a spicy sauce.
Call Mom! Pillowcase
Designed to fit most standard pillows, the case is machine washable and retains its soft feel through dozens of washes.
Men’s Shower Wrap
With this shower wrap, he can get more coverage when heading to the bathroom. It has an adjustable design and will fit most boys. The wrap also has an elastic top that won’t slip down and a pocket for his soap.
Dorm Room Tool Set: 39 Pcs
The set comes with a case that has individual spots for all the included tools. He’ll get a hammer, screwdriver and more than 30 other tools that are suitable for dorm and apartment repairs.
Fruit of the Loom Sleep Pants
The pants are super soft and have an adjustable waistband. They come in different colors and prints and have a fly with a single button.
Patagonia Better Sweater
It has a ¼ length zip on the front that he can raise and lower as needed and a pocket on the left chest area. The sweater features 100% polyester and is machine washable.
This mug comes in various colors and has a sliding lid that he can adjust to keep his drink from spilling.
Need to fill out a graduation card? Here’s what to write in a graduation card.
Gifts for College Girls
If you have a special girl in your life who is ready to spread her wings and head off to college, you can easily find some great gift ideas that are suitable for her. A shower wrap gives her a convenient way to get between the showers and her room, while a personal safe lets her protect all her valuables. You’ll find some other gifts she might like too.
Call Mom! Pink Pillow Case
Remind the college kids you love to make that call with this pillow case, which features “Call Mom” across the front in bright pink. This case is soft and machine washable.
Personal Dorm Safe
She can set the lock with a code of her choosing, which prevents others from getting inside. It can hold jewelry and phones as well as other valuable items.
Women’s Shower Wrap
This wrap comes in a bold green color and covers her from her chest to her knees. It has an elastic top that won’t slip as she moves around the dorm too.
Dorm Room Tool Set (Pink or Blue)
This set comes in a black case with some pink accents and features more than 30 tools, including a screwdriver, measuring tape and a set of bits.
Women’s Casual Stretch Lounge Pants
The pants have a low waistband that fits on her natural waist and a drawstring for extra comfort.
Patagonia Women’s Re-Tool Snap-T Pullover
Available in various sizes and colors, it has a chest pocket with a flap for storing small items and microfleece on the trim that adds to the jacket’s overall warmth.
Stainless Travel Mug (Zojirushi SM-KC48)
The vacuum insulation used on the inside keeps drinks hot for up to six hours at a temperature of more than 150 degrees Fahrenheit, and it has a wide mouth on the top that prevents spills.
Perfect for coffee or tea. Here are some more gifts for tea lovers.
Quirky and Unique Gifts for College Students
College gives students the chance to study different subjects to see what interests them and to experience new things that they never tried before.
You can let the students you care about know that you appreciate their quirky and unique sides with some fun gifts that most people wouldn’t think to give.
Laundry Bag (With Instructions)
This handy laundry bag includes tips printed across the front to prevent accidents such as turning white clothing pink. The bag uses 100% cotton and is easy to clean because students can toss it in the washing machine with their clothes.
College Hacks Book
Students will find tips on everything from reading and preparing for their classes to cleaning their dorm rooms and dealing with difficult situations.
Seuss-isms: A Guide to Life (B00k)
It uses funny words and phrases that provide college students with some tips for the future.
It uses a heavy-duty metal and includes stamped phrases such as have fun and make good choices. The keychain also includes a reminder for the user to call his or her mom.
Adulting is a fun book that walks readers through the steps of becoming an adult. It contains more than 500 steps that they can use when preparing for college and once they get there.
Graduation Mad Libs
College kids can enjoy that same fun with these Graduation Mad Libs. Each page contains a different story and asks users to fill blank lines with nouns and other words to create hysterical phrases that will make them laugh.
Practical College Student Gifts
Most college students get money when they finish high school, but you can give them some practical gifts that they’ll actually use in school. You might consider a towel set for those who live in dorm rooms and need to take showers down the hall or a device that lets them stream all their favorite shows and movies.
8 Towel Set
The set includes four washcloths, two small hand towels and two large bath towels. You can pick from some great colors too.
Self Standing Laundry Bag
It has thick handles for carrying and a durable liner that is resistant to bacteria and odors. They can leave this bag standing to use it as a hamper or collapse it down and store it under their bed or in their closet.
Sherpa Fleece Blanket
One side of the blanket uses a soft type of fleece, while the opposite side features a thick sherpa material. The blanket also comes in some great colors.
It is easy to install and lets users stream through both paid and free apps. The Express comes with a remote control too.
Colleges often reuse the same mattresses year after year. When you give a student in your life this mattress protector, you can protect them from everything on that mattress and help them sleep comfortably.
It has an extra-large size to fit dorm room mattresses and is waterproof and protects against bugs.
Food Gifts for College Students
While students have a lot of fun in college, they always miss some of the comforts of home such as the food their parents cooked. Many students don’t have a lot of cooking experience and don’t have access to cooking supplies. With any of the following food gifts, you can treat your loved one to a fun and useful gift.
Magic Spoon: Healthy Cereal by the Case
Single serve boxes of cereal are popular with college students, but you can help your loved ones enjoy a delicious and healthy bowl of cereal each morning with Magic Spoon.
This set includes several boxes of cereal that are frosted and flavored with cinnamon and chocolate. Students can eat the cereal as-is or with milk.
Healthy College Care Package
Filled with treats such as snack bars, teas, nuts and popcorn, it gives kids an excuse to grab a quick snack.
College Care Package
It comes loaded with single serve snacks that they can grab and go for a quick breakfast on the go or a snack at the library. The snacks are all healthier than the junk food they usually eat too.
Chocolate Espresso Bark (5 Pack)
Each box comes with five packs of the bark inside, and each package of bark contains as much caffeine as two full cups of coffee. The packages have a resealable top that lets students save what they don’t eat for a later day.
Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans
Each bean is certified Kosher and has a yummy chocolate coating that gives way to a delicious roasted bean inside. The package comes with beans coated in white, dark and milk chocolates.
Learn more about chocolate covered espresso beans in this chocoholics guide.
Meal Prep Gifts for Students
Instead of just giving the gift of snacks and other prepared foods, you can opt for some meal prep gifts that will get that student excited about cooking while away from school. You can shop for items such as a cooker that makes ramen noodles faster than ever before or a small device for making breakfast sandwiches quickly.
Breakfast Sandwich Maker
It lets them make a sandwich that consists of a muffin, meat and egg in minutes and has a compact size for storing in a dorm room.
Rapid Mac Cooker
Safe for use in the microwave and for cooking on the stove, it makes a full box of mac and cheese in five minutes or less.
Rapid Ramen Cooker
It’s perfect for college kids who love noodles and have access to a microwave. The cooker is also easy to clean.
Microwave Splatter Cover
With a microwave splatter cover, students can make hundreds of dishes in the microwave without the ingredients splattering all over the inside of the microwave. This cover makes cleaning that appliance a snap.
Quick and Easy College Cookbook
It features detailed recipes that show students how to make 300 dishes that are both healthy and taste delicious. The book also shows photos of some of the finished dishes too.
Hot Pot (For Noodles, Soup, Water…)
Capable of holding up to four cups, it can help students make rice and other foods too. Available in multiple colors, the Hot Pot has a handy temperature control on its base.
NutriBullet (Blender / Mixer System)
This is more than just a blender because it can make so many different drinks and dishes. It even comes with a recipe book that shows students how to make smoothies and other healthy snacks.
Keurig Single Serve
It has controls for changing the strength and the temperature of the brewed coffee and makes a single cup at a time to prevent waste. This Keurig won’t take up a lot of room in a dorm either.
Microwave Popcorn Cooker with Lid
College students can use a microwave popcorn cooker to get the taste that they love. This cooker comes with a lid that lets them save their leftovers and comes in some fun colors that they’ll like.
Comfort and Decor Gifts
One thing that college students love about living away from home is that they can create the perfect living space in their dorm rooms.
They can decorate in any way they want with fun items such as linens for their beds and art for their walls. You can help them decorate with some amazing gifts.
Go and Do Pillow
Instead of just buying a comforter or a blanket, give him or her this fun pillow, which has “Go and Do” printed on the top. It reminds them that they should remain active and live out their dreams.
It has a fun design that resembles an old metal bucket, complete with a wood handle on the top. That handle makes the bucket easy to carry when the student needs to dump his or her trash.
Weighted Blanket (20 lbs)
It uses seven layers with a limited amount of fillers to help students sleep comfortably all night long.
It has a type of gel infused inside the memory foam that helps the student stay cooler, but it also uses a breathable form of memory foam that molds to their bodies too.
Tech and Office Gifts for College Students
A power bank is a must have for any college student because this handy little product helps them charge their devices quickly. Some of the other tech and office gifts include products that they can use in their classes and in their dorm rooms. These gifts are suitable for students enrolled in any college.
Anker Power Bank
This model has a small size but can fully charge some devices more than twice before it needs charging. It comes with both a travel pouch and a micro USB cord.
LED Desk Lamp
Comes with a built-in USB port and 3 level dimmer switch. LED is 7 watts and up to 500 lumens. Color temperature is 4000 Kelvin.
Surge Protector / Power Strip with USB
The six outlets will all support three-pronged devices such as computers and chargers. It also has two USB ports and a convenient power switch.
Made from wood, the shelf attaches to the side of the bed and has space for a laptop and other supplies. It comes with a clamp that lets the shelf support up to 15 pounds.
Back Support For Studying
This pillow has a fabric loop on the top for carrying and a unique design that provides support to your loved one’s back and arms while sitting in bed.
Extra Long Charging Cable: 3 Pack
This set comes with three cords that measure between three and 10 feet long, and each one has a braided design for lasting usage.
Jackery Power Bank (Built-In Cable)
The built-in cable allows them to charge most iPhones, but it has a second cord for charging devices with a micro USB port. You can pick from two different colors of power banks too.
When you give your student an electric toothbrush, you can feel confident that dental hygiene will be on his or her daily to-do list. This model can remove three times as much plaque as other brushes do and has multiple speed settings.
Incase Laptop Backpack
It has a sling design that makes it easy to carry and pockets that can store extra batteries and cords. A large space inside holds both personal laptops and MacBooks.
6 Can Cooler with Bluetooth Speaker
This 6 can cooler has a compact design that makes it perfect for use in a dorm room. It has a built-in speaker that works via Bluetooth to connect other devices such as a cell phone. This cooler comes with two power cords for use with a car cigarette lighter or a wall outlet.
Sony Noise Canceling Headphones
When you give the gift of noise canceling headphones, you give them the chance to study and listen to music or watch videos without their roommates hearing them. These headphones also block out the noises that their roommates make.
JBL Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker
This model is portable and will work just as well outside as it does indoors. It allows students to connect up to three devices to the same speaker without worrying about wires.
No matter who you’re buying for, there should be something in this guide for them. What gift do you have your eye on?
Have a recommendation? Let me know in the comments!
Hi, I’m Bryan Haines. And I’m a co-founder of this site. I’m a traveler and photographer. I also blog about photography with a focus on GoPro and action cameras.