In case you haven't heard, college is expensive. Many students have to take on tons of debt to get their degrees. Because of that, many of the best gifts for college students will save them some money.
There's a lot of ways to do this. Many of the best gifts for college students are practical like housewares or electronics. But you can never go wrong with a gift card. However, not all college students are the same.
So, what are the best gifts for college students?
Table of Comparison
The College Life
As a college freshman heads out on their new adventure, they might need some help. Most college students won't admit it, but they probably don't know what they need to start living on their own. College can be an amazing time for teens, but it can also be stressful.
However, if you know the best gifts for college students, you can be that favorite parent.
Why should you give gifts to a college student?
If you remember what it was like to be a full-time student, you probably remember not having a ton of money on hand. Well, that's definitely true of college students today.
Unless a student is able to work full time while in school, or they have a crazy job with excellent pay, they'll be on a tight budget. Because of that, many of the best gifts for college students are practical.
You can give them something they will regularly use such as a shower caddy or a reusable drink cup.
And like anyone, college students like getting gifts. Even when you're out of school, it's always nice to be thought of.
What gifts do college students like?
While you may not want to think about it, your son or daughter isn't a little kid anymore. Odds are they don't want dolls or trucks.
Instead, many college students like gifts that they can put to use every day. And some of the best gifts for college students are things that students wouldn't think to buy themselves.
As you become an adult, you realize you need certain things to make life easier. You need a place for laundry, some good quality pots and pans, and a nice selection of blankets.
It's not that college students don't need these things, but they probably aren't rushing to the store to buy them.
And as with anyone, gift cards are some of the best gifts for college students. If your student is far away, you don't have to worry about mailing a large package. Some stores even offer digital gift cards that you can send via email.
How do you shop for a college student?
How you shop will depend somewhat on what your student likes or what they need or want. First-year students need everything from bedding to shower stuff to electronics.
If your student will be in an apartment, then they'll probably need some kitchen essentials like pots and pans.
And regardless of where they'll be living, some of the best gifts for college students are gifts that fit their personality and taste.
If your student likes video games, consider getting them a new game. If your student enjoys reading, you can send them a book.
How can you send gifts to a college student?
There are a few ways you can send gifts to your college student. As we mentioned, some stores offer electronic gift cards. If you get one of those, you can usually email it directly to your student.
And if you buy a physical gift online, you can also ship it straight to your student. Some websites even let you gift wrap the package.
If you buy something in person, you have a couple of options. First, you can ship it yourself to your student's dorm or apartment.
Second, you can use the gift as an excuse to visit your student. If your student isn't too far away, that can be an excellent way to ensure they receive your gift.
Where can you buy these gifts?
The place to buy some of the best gifts for college students depends on what you plan to buy. If you want to give your student a new computer, for example, you can go to Best Buy or another computer store. On the other hand, you can find quite a few items at a store like Target or Walmart.
Lastly, Amazon has just about everything you could think of giving to your college student. And since buying online allows you to ship directly to your student, you don't have to worry about packing the gift.
How much do these gifts cost?
Some gifts can be pretty inexpensive, like a cheap Starbucks gift card. You can get gift cards starting at around $10. However, more significant gifts like electronics can easily cost over $1,000.
We found some of the best gifts for college students, and the prices of the items vary from $5 to $350.
At the end of the semester, your college student will probably have to complete a few course evaluations. They'll have a chance to give their feedback on the professors and courses they had that semester.
However, they should only have positive things to say about the gifts you give them. So, you need to make sure you're giving the best gifts for college students.
In our search for these gifts, we took inspiration from some of the experts. However, we also thought back to our own experiences in college. We thought about our favorite gifts and tools from dorm living.
When it came to choosing the specific products for this list, we looked at customer reviews. We made sure to choose products with good ratings and reviews. Because you don't want your student to give you a lousy gift evaluation.
The Best Gifts for College Students
Every student likes getting a gift. But you as the gift giver should know the best gifts for college students.
While everyone likes gifts, most people don't want just any gift. Before you rush to the store to buy a gift for your student, make sure you know what they need and like.
If you're completely out of ideas, you can get started with our list of the best gifts for college students.
- High-performance wireless Bluetooth headphones in matte black
- Features the Apple W1 chip and Class 1 wireless Bluetooth connectivity
- With up to 40 hours of battery life, Beats Solo3 wireless is your perfect everyday headphone
Most college students love a good pair of headphones. Unless they have their own room, privacy is unknown to students. The Solo3 headphones from Beats by Dre are an excellent choice for watching movies or listening to music.
These headphones are wireless, so your student won't have to fuss with a cord when they want to use the headphones. The Beats by Dre Solo3 headphones sit over your ears (as opposed to earbuds), so they can reduce outside noise to help your student focus on what they're doing.
And the battery lasts for up to 40 hours which means your student won't have to charge them constantly. If the battery is running low, you can give it about three hours of charge in just five minutes. That's perfect for busy college students.
You can also adjust the fit of the ear cups so that the headphones are comfortable. They also allow you to take calls and control music playback. With these headphones, you get a carrying case, a RemoteTalk cable, a charging cable, and instructions.
The Beats by Dre Solo3 headphones come in different colors like black, silver, and red, and a pair costs $250 to $350. However, the headphones are Amazon's Choice, and the average customer rating is 4.1 out of 5 stars.
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If you haven't jumped on the Alexa train yet, now's the perfect time. Alexa can do a lot of things from checking the weather to setting reminders. And the Echo Dot is the ideal size for a small dorm room.
The Echo Dot is one of Amazon's most popular speakers, and its small size doesn't mean fewer features. You can use the Bluetooth speaker to control music or listen to audiobooks. If your student's roommate also has an Echo Dot, they can connect the two for a stereo effect.
Alexa has over 50,000 skills to choose from, so your student can explore the skills for hours.
The Echo Dot measures 3.9 by 3.9 by 1.7 inches which makes it perfect for a small desk or dresser. And if your student already has a color scheme, you can choose from charcoal, grey, and sandstone to match.
While you can buy some smart tools with the Echo Dot, alone it costs $40 to $60. Since your student is probably in a dorm, they really don't need smart lighting. As an Amazon's Choice product, the average customer rating for the Echo Dot is 4.6 out of 5 stars.
- With the YETI Rambler 20 oz. Tumbler, your beverages will stay ice cold or piping hot longer
- We over-engineered these double-wall insulated tumblers with an 18/8 stainless steel body, which means your drink still...
- They’re BPA-free (obviously), have a No Sweat Design to make sure your hands stay dry, and are dishwasher-safe
Visit any campus, and you'll probably find overpriced water bottles and coffee. So one of the best gifts for college students is a reusable drink cup. The YETI Tumbler is just one option, but it's perfect for both hot and cold beverages.
This tumbler can hold up to 20 ounces which is great for class days or study sessions. It uses double insulation to keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot. And the stainless steel outside keeps that insulation intact even if the cup gets tossed around a lot.
The YETI Tumbler costs $40 to $55 which sounds like a lot. However, it could save your student over a dollar per day on water bottles. So it will pay for itself quickly.
The mug is Amazon's Choice for YETI mugs, and it has an average customer rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars.
A laundry bag is much easier to carry through the halls to the laundry room. And it keeps your dirty clothes out of view of roommates.
This bag, in particular, uses double-layer Oxford fabric, and it's somewhat waterproof. The aluminum handles have a foam grip that makes carrying the bag comfortable and easy.
This laundry bag measures 15 by 15 by 28 inches, and it can collapse down when empty. You can also choose to get five washing bags to help organize laundry, and the bag itself comes in blue, red, grey, and black.
At $15 to $20, this laundry bag is a steal. And customers love it since the average rating is 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
- EASY MEALS -- A healthier and faster way to cook ramen noodles! For days when you need a quick meal, the Rapid Ramen...
- TOP NOTCH TOOL -- It’s an essential for college student dorm rooms or busy adults with hungry kids. You’ll never...
- TAKE ON-THE-GO -- Unlike other containers or accessories, the Rapid Ramen Cooker is durable yet convenient enough to be...
If there's one stereotype that college students can't get away from, it's their love of Ramen noodles. And when a pack costs less than some grocery store candy, who can blame them? The Rapid Ramen Cooker makes it easy for college students to cook Ramen noodles in the microwave.
This square plastic bowl is the perfect size for a pack of Ramen noodles, and it's excellent for short lunch breaks. The cooker can heat up Ramen in half the time of a stove, and it's reusable and BPA-free.
Your student just needs some water and a pack of Ramen, and they're good to go. When cafeteria food doesn't cut it, Ramen can be an inexpensive and quick solution for many college students.
The Rapid Ramen Cooker comes in black and red, and it costs $5 to $10. Amazon customers give it an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars.
- Healthy Snacking equals a Healthy You! Catered Cravings offers the perfect variety pack for healthy snacking. Your taste...
- Gift boxes will be consistent, you will get what you see in pictures and read in the product description. You will know...
- All products are guaranteed fresh! No stale or expired products ever. You will receive the best quality fresh product in...
Whether it's midterms, finals, or sometime in between, most college students love a good care package. The My College Crate Care Package is full of snacks to get your student through a long study session or a long day of classes.
The snacks include popcorn, pretzels, peanuts, and fruit snacks. While processed foods aren't as healthy as fresh foods, those options are on the healthier side of processed snacks. Plus the variety means your student won't get bored of eating the same thing day after day.
In total, the care package has 40 items of food. So that can last your student quite a while as they work on homework or speed between classes and activities.
And since you can ship the care package directly to your student, you don't have to pack it yourself. That makes it one of the best gifts for college students and parents alike.
You can buy the My College Crate Care Package for $20 to $40. It has an average customer rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
- Quick Dry! The Mesh Caddy is perfect for the Gym, School, dorm, College, Travel, Camping and more!
- 4 Large Mesh Pockets + 3 Middle Mesh Pockets Adds plenty of room to keep all your bathroom toiletries,shampoo,...
- No installation required, simply hang directly on your existing shower curtain rings.Rust proof metal grommets, 3 metal...
Just as your student probably has to head down the hall for laundry, they probably have to do so for the shower. A shower caddy is an easy way to carry all of your shower necessities from your room to the shower. However, some caddies can be too bulky for the shower.
A Hanging Shower Caddy like the one from Foloda is both convenient and small enough to fit in a dorm shower. Your student can keep all of their stuff organized, and they can easily hang the caddy over the shower rod.
That way, they don't have to take up floor space with a caddy, and all of their shampoo, soap, and whatnot is within easy reach.
Your student can fill the caddy with shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash, and other toiletries. And the hooks make the caddy easy to hang just about anywhere.
This Foloda caddy costs $5 to $15. Amazon customers gave it an average rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars.
- Amazon.com Gift Cards never expire and carry no fees.
- Multiple gift card designs and denominations to choose from.
- Redeemable towards millions of items store-wide at Amazon.com or certain affiliated websites.
Is your student picky? Or maybe they're an upperclassman, and they have all of the necessities. Either way, one of the best gifts for college students is a gift card. Gift cards are great because the recipient can use the gift card for whatever they want.
Amazon Gift Cards are great because Amazon sells so many things. Your student can choose which headphones they want or which laundry bag will work best for them.
You can even buy an Amazon eGift Card and send it to your student through their email. That means you don't have to spend time mailing it.
You can buy a gift card for almost any amount you choose, and you can also get gift cards for other specific stores or general gift cards from Visa.
While physical gifts are an excellent way to show you care, a gift card can be a good option for when your student has everything.
Amazon eGift Cards cost anywhere from $1 to $1,000, so you can set the price. Customers love the flexibility since the average rating is 4.7 out of 5 stars.
On a Student's Budget
The best gifts for college students are things the student will use. Sometimes, frivolous gifts are nice, but as college students transition from child to adult, many realize that they need practical gifts.
Overall, we think a gift card is one of the best gifts for college students. No, it's not as personal as some things, but it's easy, and it's almost guaranteed that your student will love it.
If you have a college freshman who still needs a lot of stuff, then consider getting them the YETI Tumbler. It's not cheap at first, but a reusable cup can save your student tons of money in the long run.
However, it's up to you to decide the best gifts for college students in your life. Shop for the person rather than the stereotype.
Do you have a gift suggestion for college students that didn't make our list? Share it with us in the comments!