Congratulations! Your student has made it through their high school years and has decided to head off to college. Maybe it is not your child who has graduated, but rather, someone you have watched grows up through family friendships or in your local church. Whatever the reason to need to purchase a graduation gift, skip all of the cute graduation memorabilia and go for something that the up-and-coming college student will be able to use! We created a list of the 30 best gifts for college students.

Gifts for College Students That They Will Actually Need

When purchasing graduation gifts, it’s straightforward to go straight for the stuffed animal that their friends can sign, the mug that says the graduate of whatever year it is, or a pen in a special case. All of those types of things wound up getting lost or eventually thrown in the trash. Why not get something that your student would use? Sometimes, the best gift ideas for college students are the ones they don’t even know they need. Here we have prepared a list for you of the top 30 best gift items for college students that they will use every single day for as long as the item lasts!

1 . Vintage Backpack Travel Laptop Backpack with USB Charging Port

Your college student will love and need this backpack. This backpack is not only stylish but purposeful, and it’s designed. There is a space for students to carry their laptops and tablets and dividers to separate other items. Its unique design that allows this bag to attach to luggage and be used as a carry-on proves that this backpack makes a great gift for any college student that receives it! In this article, you will find more backpacks for college students to fit their laptops and books.

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2 . Keurig K-Mini Coffee Maker

It is at this point in life that all of us realize that coffee is a must! For the new college student, they will quickly learn that this is true. The Keurig K-Mini Coffee Maker will make a great gift that will certainly come in handy during those late-night cram sessions! No college dorm room is complete without the ability to have coffee or tea whenever they want. These mini coffee makers also prove to make the perfect water temperature to make those late-night ramen noodle cups. Getting them a Keurig may earn you some brownie points, and it’s something they will actually use!

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3 . TACKLIFE 3.2 Cu.Ft Mini Fridge with Freezer

Those late-night cravings involve late-night snacks and drinks. Where else is a college student to go when cramming for the big exam except to their very own mini-fridge. You can’t go wrong with getting them this 3.2 cubic foot fridge and freezer, which has enough space for all those midnight munchies. They’ll love the ability to have a space for all their favorite sodas and bottled water as well as ice cream!

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4 . Amazon Basics Microwave

This Amazon Basics Microwave is the perfect addition to sit right on top of that aforementioned mini-fridge. A microwave is something that your student will likely use every day within their room. Having a microwave and a mini-fridge will help make their space feel more like home to them and help them be more comfortable in their new dorm.

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5 . Hercules Tuff Charging Station for Multiple Devices

With all tablets, laptops, cell phones, and smartwatches, keeping cords organized and devices all in one easy place can be difficult. This Hercules Tuff Charging Station is the perfect way to help your college student keep the very devices that will help them succeed in running and being organized.

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6 . Long iPhone Charger Cable (2Pack 10FT)

This particular gift is a must not only for college students but for everyone! Get your college kid a couple of extra-long iPhone (or Android) charging cables so they can charge and use them easily. Honestly, think of how many times you are lying in bed and try to use your phone, and you have to unplug it because the cord is too short? Somehow having a longer cord makes life so much better.

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7 . Amazon Prime Student Membership

Uh hello! Probably one of the most important items on this list! Having an Amazon Prime Student Membership will allow them to access the music they like, TV shows, as well as access to free shipping on items they might need to order for school. Plus, some textbooks are available and downloadable through Amazon significantly less than at the university bookstore.

8 . Witeem Surge Protector with 12-Outlet

With all of the different items that will need to be plugged in, this is a must. The Witeem Surge Protector has 12 outlets as well as four USB plug-ins, giving your students plenty of space to plug in most (if not all) of their items. Also, this surge protector will give you peace of mind that their valuable electronics won’t short out in the case of a power surge.

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9 . Lots of Ramen Cups

I remember one thing from my college years that I was broke, and Ramen was my best friend. In this case, give your college student enough ramen to survive those late-night food cravings and wallet shortages! Every college student hears the Ramen rumors about being so broke that is all they will eat, so why not give them a head start with a variety pack? This pack on Amazon comes with nine different flavors with four special Ramen noodle spoons. Of course, this does not have to be the entire gift, but it sure is a fun one!

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10 . JBL Charge 3 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Every student needs a BlueTooth speaker! This JBL Charge 3 Waterproof portable speaker is a great gift and will surely be used wherever your student goes. To the pool, college float trips, sitting on the lawn in the quad area, outdoor gathering, and more. This is a great gift that will surely be used until there is nothing else left in it. Plus, you can’t go wrong with one that has a 4.8 out of 5-star rating from over 28,000 customers!

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11 . New Apple MacBook Air

When it comes to the best gifts for college students, this one certainly tops the list. While there are always less expensive options for computers for your student, a MacBook will last the entirety of their college career and maybe even longer. If you want to make sure that your college student has a computer with many different things that they will love and need to succeed and will be reliable for years, this laptop has no rival.

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12 . Beats Solo Pro Wireless Noise Cancelling On-Ear Headphones

Sometimes, living in a dorm can be extremely loud and distracting. Even studying in the university library can present its challenges with the noise of typing, quiet chatter, and people moving around and about. If your soon-to-be college student gets distracted easily, these headphones may be the best way to help them stay focused even in the most difficult of situations. These Beat Solo Pro Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones are a bit pricey when shopping around. However, Beats are the best on the market and will last your college students years when they’re taken care of.

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13 . Snacks…Lots of Snacks

The main things that college students need are snacks and lots of them. Providing them with a big basket of various snacks will certainly come in handy when they want something portable to take with them to class, or they’re in the midst of a late-night cram session and need something to eat. One easy way to send these to your college student is through the Prime Pantry!

14 . Planner

While the vast majority of college students have their phones on them at all times and have access to reminders and digital notebooks, sometimes, a real-live planner is a great option. Why is this a good option when they have all of the electronics in the world? Because writing things down solidifies information in the brain. Also, planners like this give students something fun to doodle on during class should they become bored. Planners are a great way to help your students stay on track in their first year of college.

15 . Shower Caddy

Living in dorm rooms presents a whole new set of challenges for living away from one. For one, no student has a place in the bathroom to put all of their belongings. Hence, why every student living on campus for the first time should get a shower caddy. When kids are away from home and living somewhere else for the first time, sometimes the little things make adjusting easier. Having something as simple as a shower caddy will certainly help them by making all of their bathroom essentials portable and easy to keep track of.

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16 . Wireless Printer

While most college professors prefer to have things submitted electronically, I find that there are always still some who would prefer that paper copy. There is always the possibility that your student would want to print off a study guide or some pictures. There are possibly important forms that they will need to print up and submit to their university or other places. Whatever their printing needs, go ahead and add a new wireless printer to the mix of things they will require for college.

17 . Echo Dot (or Show, or Studio)

When talking about some of the best gifts for college kids, any of the Echo products make sure to help your student get through college. This is the perfect addition to any college dorm room! Students can utilize this device to ask what the weather is, solve a math problem, ask for a definition, order more school supplies, or even control Alexa compatible lights to turn on and off.

Also, this gift will allow college students to listen to their tunes by simply saying, “Alexa, play my study jams playlist…” or whatever their music playlist is! If you spring for the more expensive Echo Show, this is an easy way to stay connected with your student via video chat or voice.

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18 . Bluetooth Tile Trackers

These little marvels make great gifts for college students who are a bit scatterbrained, to say the least. When mom and dad aren’t around to help keep them organized, this will give them peace of mind to know they can easily find where they have misplaced anything. Tile Trackers can stick on the back of a phone or laptop. They can also attach a tile tracker to their key chains, wallets, chargers, or anything that they want to find easily if lost.

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19 . Smart Watch

College students use their phones more times a day than they use anything else (just like everyone else). What better way to stay connected than to give them a smartwatch? There are so many different choices that would best fit any student. If you find that your student is more of an Apple product fan, look into getting them an Apple Watch. Maybe your student is more athletic and would better benefit from a FitBit watch. These are the perfect way to tell your kid to get to class on time subtly, and you want them to be happy and healthy.

20 . Roku

No dorm is complete without the ability to watch some Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, or any of the other streaming sites! This little device turns a boring old TV into a Smart TV with quick and simple instructions. Roku offers a different version of their streaming device, including headphones connecting to the remote control. This allows college students to lay in bed and listen to their TV shows without disturbing those around them. That alone is a good enough reason to gift this to your student!

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21 . Bedside Caddy

When you’re in a dorm room, space is limited, and somehow, things can get lost very quickly. We like this felt storage bedside caddy that has five different pockets for organization. You will find two large pockets large enough to store a laptop, iPad, magazines, or textbooks in this particular one. Also, smaller places have enough space to store that Roku remote, pens, cell phone, and wallet. And if your college kid needs a good place to store a water bottle while they are in bed, there is a little side pocket to hold one. This is the perfect gift for any dorm room to help users stay more organized!

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22 . Fluffy Blanket

College students away from home for the first time require things to help them feel comfortable in their new home away from home (aka, the dorm room). What better gift to bring students comfort than a big fluffy blanket to curl up with? Fluffy blankets are a great way to make a room feel warm and inviting, but also, they may keep your student from feeling too homesick. Because like in a dorm can feel dreary sometimes, giving college students something they can look forward to snuggling under on their bed helps them feel more comfortable among the pressures that college can bring into life.

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23 . Blue Light Glasses

Because life now revolves around technology, from your typical coffee break to checking emails before bed, it comes as no surprise that the blue light emitted from these devices can damage the eye. One practical gift for your college student, as you know they will be looking at a great amount of this kind of light, would be beneficial to get them some glasses that block this damaging light. College students may spend up to twelve hours a day looking at electronic devices. These glasses may be the best gift they ever receive and not even know it.

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24 . Storage Cubes

Storage cubes are such an easy and inexpensive way to organize any room space. Collapsible storage cubes and the furniture that comes with it look good can be dressed up and may keep life easy and organized. Students need things like cubes to help make organization a little bit easier. I have learned that college students, by nature, are messy individuals for the most part. So anything that will make their life easier and a lot less complicated is always good!

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25 . Socks

Grab your college student a set of socks…or maybe it would be good to get them lots of sets of socks! The first thing that goes missing in the communal washroom is socks. While this is an entirely practical gift, they’re never going to be taken for granted. So please don’t feel bad about getting them a lot of socks. It will always be something they require and may earn you a phone call of thanks in the future!

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26 . Stainless Steel Water Bottle

It may be easy to suggest all of the best electronics for a new college student because it will easily come to mind the things they may want. However, many students forget to drink water during their day. These HYDRO CELL stainless steel water bottles are cost-effective and keep their cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot. Whether they are drinking a giant bottle full of coffee (or more preferably) or water, or a sports drink, students will never run out of uses for this.

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27 . Apple Airpods

It is one thing to have over-the-earphones; it is another to have something smaller and more portable to listen to music wherever you go. Apple Airpods are the perfect gift for students, and they will be something they will employ time and time again. They’re small enough to keep in their pockets and have a locator built-in should they get lost. They can easily be found with the same “Find My iPhone” app that you would utilize to find your other Apple devices. Plus, there are many great protective covers for the Apple Airpods case that would fit any personality that you could include with the gift.

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28 . Travel Printer

One of the best things about a Polaroid camera was that you could take a picture, and you almost instantly had something to give to a friend or keep for yourself. Of course, technology has changed, and so can take amazing pictures with a cell phone and print them. No more taking rolls of film to your local store to have quality pics. The Canon IVY Mobile Mini Photo Printer will connect to your student’s phone using BlueTooth and print 2×3″ pictures anywhere they are. So no more just storing tons of great pictures in your phone. Give the gift of lasting memories that can actually be put up on a wall or passed around!

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29 . Cards Against Humanity

When thinking about what types of gifts students would want, it is also important to think about what they require for school and social life. Giving the gift of this set of cards is one that your student will not only like, but it may also earn them many game nights with friends and bragging rights if they win. Card Against Humanity has become the go-to game for parties around the United States and is one that comes with endless laughs and shock all at the same time. Plus, there are plenty of additional packs so that your student can be continually adding to this game.

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30 . Comfortable Bedding Set

Again, while it may not be the firth thing on any student’s list, it’s bound to be something they like to come home to each night. Everyone knows that having comfortable bedding set to go to sleep makes the end of the day better. For college kids missing home, they must have something that makes them feel comfortable in their new home away from home.

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Final Thoughts

When considering what college students might call for, luckily, most of them will require the same types of things as they venture out into the great world of higher education. It’s scary and exciting all at the same time. It’s with all the best regard that we bring you this list and set you on your way! With that, happy shopping!

About the Author

Brittany Ray

Brittany is a dedicated educator to students in high needs schools, a habitual DIY’er, and an avid runner. She is a high school teacher by day and a passionate freelance writer by night. Her passion and life mission with her work is to help students and teachers in practical ways that will allow them to flourish. Brittany loves spending time with her family and being outside any chance she can get. She loves taking the family on long bike rides and on family hikes in the beautiful surrounding areas of the Midwest. You can check out her projects and life encouragement on her blog.

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