Top Gifts for College-Bound Students

Looking for the perfect gift for your college-bound child? Here are some ideas to get you started!

Doing some off-to-college shopping for your college-bound kid over the Fourth of July holiday? Take a look at some of these perfect presents for your (almost) freshman!

  • A college-cool backpack. Help your student lug their textbooks from one end of campus to the other in style with a trendy backpack. L.L. Bean and The North Face have great options.
  • Grown-up notebooks. Welcome your student to the world of adulthood with a proper notebook, like a Moleskine. Taking notes never looked so good.
  • A digital media player. Students can avoid paying for cable and watch streaming video through a digital media player. Apple TV works with any Mac or Windows computer that’s running iTunes on an enhanced-definition or HD widescreen TV. Roku players provide access to more than 1,000 channels and connect easily to the user’s TV and high-speed Internet service.
  • A nifty alarm clock. For many students, getting out of their warm, comfy dorm bed in the morning is the hardest part of the day. Make it fun with a quirky alarm clock, such as the Clocky, which is designed with wheels and the ability to jump off the night stand and roll around the room looking for a place to hide before going off.
  • Portable speakers. Dorm rooms are small, meaning musically inclined students may not be able to set up their full-size speakers. Portable speakers, such as the teeny-tiny and waterproof Creative Muvo 2c, let them take their music with them wherever they go.
  • Headphones. Of course, while portable speakers are a great idea in theory, most college students who live on campus will have roommates. Roommates who may or may not share their taste in music. Help them avoid arguments with some noise-cancelling headphones or earbuds.
  • An e-reader or iPad. More and more textbooks are now available in an electronic format. Help your student lighten the load in the aforementioned backpack with an iPad or an e-reader, such as a Kindle Fire.
  • A five-year diary. Give your student the gift of memories with a diary that will help chronicle his or her time in college. This one from Barnes & Noble requires just a single line a day, and there’s also a sketch-a-day option for the budding artist.
  • Dorm-friendly cookbooks. Leaving home doesn’t mean students can’t enjoy a home-cooked meal. They may not have a full kitchen at their disposal, but cookbooks with recipes that are compatible with dorm life abound. The I Love Trader Joe’s College Cookbook and the $5 a Meal College Cookbook are just two examples.
  • City guidebooks and transportation maps. Students going away for college can bone up on their new surroundings with the help of city guides and public transportation maps, like those offered by Frommer’s. International guides are also a great gift idea for students planning on studying abroad. In particular, Rick Steves’ books are helpful for American travelers on a budget.
  • School memorabilia. If your student already knows where he or she will be attending college, T-shirts, sweatshirts, bumper stickers, and other memorabilia can make for great gifts. Visit the school’s website to see if their coop, bookstore, or gift shop accepts online orders.
  • A battery pack. Long days in class and long nights at the library are bound to test the limits of your student’s phone and laptop. Help them stay connected with a back-up battery pack. Amazon has hundreds of options at many price points.
  • A single-cup coffeemaker. Most college students have neither the time nor the need to brew a full pot of coffee. A single-cup coffeemaker like this inexpensive Bella model or a pricier but super handy Keurig will save them both time and space—and they won’t have to visit overpriced coffee shops quite so often.
  • A travel mug. They’re going to need something sturdy to carry that coffee with them to class. A trendy travel mug will do the trick. This one has a helpful built-in clock, or you could order a personalized one from Etsy.
  • A family album. As great as all these gift ideas are, everyone knows the best gifts are the ones that come from the heart. Consider putting together an album of family pictures that your student can take to college. You could even create a professional-quality photo book with the help of a website like Blurb or Shutterfly so you can order a second copy for yourself.

Let us know if we missed any great gifts for soon-to-be college students in the comments. Happy shopping from CollegeXpress!

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