Latino graduate in black cap, gown with arms around parents, mom holding gifts

7 Awesome Gift Ideas for New Graduates

There's no better way to show someone how proud you are than by giving them a great gift. Here are some ideas for what to get the new grad in your life.

Hours of studying, pages and pages of written papers, and major projects stood between students and their cap and gown four years ago. Today, nothing stands in the way of their dream: It’s graduation day! The right graduation gift can be the perfect way to top off an unforgettable milestone for grads, making them feel even more valued and celebrated. Let’s explore the top gift ideas you can give to both college and high school graduates.

1. Customized keepsakes

A personalized graduation gift is the perfect way to show a graduate how special they are. Consider surprising them with something like an engraved compass featuring a personal message to symbolize direction and guidance in their future journey. Fun, personalized messages to add include “Adventure Awaits” or “Navigate New Horizons.” Personalized throw pillows are also an excellent and beautiful addition to a couch or bed, adding personality and comfort to a graduate’s new (or old) living space. Choose a cozy and soft throw pillow you can customize with a motivational message, their name, and their graduation year.

Perhaps you have some meaningful photos of the graduate from their time at school. You could print them out and add the memories to a personalized leather-bound photo album to give them on graduation day. Alternatively, a ring or necklace with their initials and graduation date is another heartfelt keepsake your loved one is sure to cherish for years to come.

2. Tech gadgets

Is your graduate a techie? Treat them to a few gadgets that can add value to their postgraduate lives. Mobile accessories like screen protectors and phone cases are great for students who may need to use their phones more for school if they’re moving from high school to college (or new professionals if they’re heading to the working world). Wireless chargers and keyboards are also practical gifts for graduates who are heading into these new major life phases.

Practical devices aren’t limited to phone and computer gadgets though! Graduates who are proud home chefs may appreciate a multicooker—an appliance that can steam, air-fry, and slow/pressure-cook for healthy and quick meals. Busy graduates may also benefit from electronic notebooks for organization and note-taking, letting them sync notes across multiple devices.

Related: 6 Cool Gadgets to Get for Your Dorm or Workspace

3. Unforgettable experiences

Sometimes the best gifts aren’t things but adventures. A graduate who loves racking up frequent flier miles will appreciate an airline gift card. If you’re looking to do something together, you could take your grad on a culinary class journey for an enjoyable social experience and lessons on whipping up delicious cuisine. Or help a music lover experience their idol in person by gifting them tickets to their favorite artist or band’s next concert.

4. Functional bags

Does your graduate love exploring and being on the go? Help them find the intersection of functionality and fashion with high-quality casual bags. Belt bags, sling backpacks, crossbody bags, and totes in vibrant shades can help them carry personal items while making a fashion statement from one day to the next. Casual belt bags are convenient for keeping hands-free, eliminating the need to carry a bag in hand or on your shoulder. A sporty sling backpack provides rapid access to belongings since it can be swung from back to front without taking it off. A chic crossbody bag is good for traveling, as it helps keep belongings secure and close to your body. Classic totes are the best option for a durable, sustainable, long-lasting, and versatile bag for all occasions. And a nice set of rolling luggage can help students travel to new cities and schools with ease.

5. Motivational books

Is your graduate a self-proclaimed bibliophile? Then some books couldn’t be a better way to celebrate their academic accomplishments. Personal development and career books like Jack Canfield’s The Success Principles may help them confidently embrace opportunities for academic and career progression, while inspirational books like Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In could motivate them to achieve their goals at school, work, and home.

Related: 6 Great Book Recommendations Based on Popular College Majors

6. Fashion pieces

Make your graduate feel stylish by giving them fashion accessories to show them how much you esteem them. Handcrafted bracelets featuring natural stones are perfect for reflecting their personal style or birth month. A cuff bracelet or watch featuring a motivational saying like “Choose Joy” or “You’re Enough” are also excellent options for inspiring someone as they embark on their career.

7. Home decorations and accessories

Surprising your graduate with beautiful home decor can help them create an inviting and comfortable living space as they transition into higher education or adulthood. Turn a memory from the past several years into a gorgeous canvas print, or give them a new item for their home office, like a sophisticated pen holder, classy desk lamp, or eye-catching mouse pad to enhance creativity and productivity. Top-of-the-line scented candles can further change their space by creating a relaxed ambiance with soothing fragrances. Stylish designs make these gifts even more special.

Related: Smart Ideas to Decorate and Save Space in Your College Dorm or Apartment

Graduation is a major accomplishment that deserves an extraordinary gift. Practical and sentimental gifts like tech gadgets, bags, home décor, and more can all show new grads how much you support them as they start a new chapter of their life. Consider these graduation gift ideas to make your loved one’s big day even more memorable for all the right reasons!

Another thing new graduates deserve is some well-earned rest! They can find a ton of ways to spend their time off with Our Best Advice for Having an Awesome Summer Break.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now


About Tess DiNapoli

Tess DiNapoli

Tess DiNapoli is an artist, freelance writer, and content strategist. She has a passion for yoga and often writes about health and wellness but also enjoys covering the fashion industry and world of fitness.


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Rose Kearsley

Rose Kearsley

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress has seriously helped me out a lot, especially when it comes to scholarships and studying for tests like the ACT. I also really love the financial help. It’s a little harder to pay because I live with a family of eight, so any help is appreciated. Thanks for this opportunity!

Sarah Armstrong

Sarah Armstrong

High School Class of 2022

I am a deaf student, and I had always dreamed of going to Gallaudet University. CollegeXpress helped me search though other qualified universities. They helped me know for sure that Gallaudet University was the right choice for me!



High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress showed me that Western New England University was a great match for me both with curriculum and location. CollegeXpress is an excellent resource both future and current college students.

Lexie Knutson

Lexie Knutson

High School Class of 2021

This whole website has helped me overcome the attitude I had before. I was scared to even approach the thought of college because it was so much. I knew it wasn’t just a few easy steps, and I panicked mostly, instead of actually trying. Without realizing it, CollegeXpress did exactly what I usually do when I panic, which is take it one step at a time. With college I forget that because it’s more than just a small to-do list, but this website was really helpful and overall amazing. So thank you!

Asia Stockdale

Asia Stockdale

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress helped me overcome a huge hurdle. Because of the small town I live in, I felt like I would never achieve more. I felt like I could never go beyond because of costs. I feared I wouldn’t be able to find scholarships. I had no idea of where to start. With CollegeXpress, I easily found scholarships—they came to me. It was a helper, and I was instantly matched with opportunities to go above and beyond educationally.

College Matches

Colleges You May Be Interested In

Charleston Southern University

North Charleston, SC

Caldwell University

Caldwell, NJ

Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI