Another spring semester has arrived, which means thousands of students across the country will soon step across the stage and into the rest of their adult lives.
The education these college graduates have received is already a great gift. But if you’re the parent, relative, or friend of one of these grads, you might be looking for a gift to congratulate and celebrate their achievement.
But what are you supposed to get for a college grad? How do you find them a gift they’ll actually be excited to receive? Aside from the obvious gift of cash, you may be at a loss.
To help make your shopping easier, we put together this guide. Here are 37 gifts that would be great for the college graduate in your life.
For most college students, graduation means joining the world of work. Even though smartphones make it easier than ever to save people’s contact information, your grad is bound to get a few business cards at networking events or conferences.
Help them keep track of all these cards with a professional business card holder.
Note: Many universities sell business card holders with the university logo, which can add a nice personal touch.
Ideally, your grad isn’t just accepting business cards; they’re also giving out cards of their own. While some companies will provide cards for them to use, that won’t always be the case (particularly if they decide to strike out on their own as a freelancer or entrepreneur).
The best place we’ve found to get business cards is Moo. Their cards are affordable, high-quality, and sure to make a great impression. Send your grad to this link to get them started (or give them a Moo gift card).
Is your grad difficult to shop for? Then let them get whatever they want with an Amazon gift card. This eGift card lets you customize the design and include a personal message. Alternatively, you can get a physical gift card if you want something to hand them after graduation.
Amazon is great for buying just about anything, but there are some items you need to see and experience in person before buying. This is true of things like clothing, bedding, and home decor (all of which your grad will need as they start the next phase of their life).
In this case, a Target gift card makes an excellent gift.
Many college grads will be living on their own for the first time as they start new jobs or even move to new cities. This means they’ll probably need to do some furniture shopping, and IKEA is a time-honored place to do it (particularly on an entry-level salary).
Help them get the furniture or other home goods they need with an IKEA gift card.
We’re big proponents of making your own coffee at home, but sometimes you’re in a hurry and need a pick me up (or a place with reliable WiFi).
In these cases, Starbucks is a great option. Help your grad buy a few of their favorite coffee drinks with a Starbucks gift card.
Graduating college often means moving to a new city to start a new job. And moving can be expensive, particularly if it’s across the country.
To help make your grad’s move more affordable, give them a U-Haul gift card.
Give your grad a way to remember you and everyone back home with a custom photo book. You can use whatever photos (and text) you want, and the books are available in a variety of sizes.
Candles make soothing, attractive decorations, and they can also add a pleasant odor to a room. These state candles from Homesick serve all the usual functions of a candle, plus they give your grad a way to represent their home state. If you prefer, the same candles are also available with the names of cities.
An Amazon gift card is helpful, but the serious money savings come with an Amazon Prime subscription.
With Prime, your grad can get free two-day (or even one-day) shipping on most items, as well as access to thousands of movies and TV shows. Prime also includes a subscription to Prime Music, which gives ad-free access to millions of songs.
Spotify is one of the most popular places to stream just about any song in existence. Give your grad the gift of music with a Spotify gift card. They’ll especially appreciate it since graduating college means they can no longer get Spotify at a discount.
Note: This gift card is not redeemable for the Spotify Family Plan or Spotify Student Plan. It’s valid for one full year of the regular Spotify Premium subscription.
Audiobooks are a great way to learn and be entertained while commuting, doing household chores, or exercising.
Give your grad the gift of audiobooks with a subscription to Audible. An Audible subscription will get them one audiobook of their choice each month, plus two Audible Originals.
To stay competitive in today’s job market, you need to keep learning new skills after you graduate. Help your grad learn the skills of the future with a subscription to Skillshare.
Skillshare is an online learning library with courses on everything from video editing to entrepreneurship. If you want to learn something new, Skillshare probably has a course on it.
Paper books are so 20th century. These days, the Kindle is the most convenient way to read. A Kindle gives your grad access to Amazon’s vast library of digital books, and the latest model is even waterproof.
Graduating college means your grad will likely be getting a job that earns them more money than they’ve ever had before.
Help them manage all this new money responsibly with this excellent guide from personal finance expert J.D. Roth. The book covers budgeting, using credit wisely, saving for retirement, and much more.
Whether your grad is working at a company or even starting their own, understanding the fundamentals of business will put them way ahead of their peers.
The Personal MBA is the most comprehensive yet concise introduction to business we’ve found. From selling to accounting to effectively collaborating with others, this book has it covered.
Whether it’s speaking to an audience of hundreds or presenting to half a dozen coworkers, your grad will have to speak in public at some point.
That’s why Confessions of a Public Speaker is such a valuable gift. Professional speaker Scott Berkun draws on his years of experience to show how anyone can learn to communicate effectively, no matter the audience or occasion.
With a new job and a hectic schedule, your grad may not have much time to cook healthy meals.
Help them out with an Instant Pot. This gadget combines a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, and more into one compact package. Plus, it’s easy to clean.
Nothing beats the versatility of a non-stick skillet. Give them one that will last, like this one from T-Fal. It’s great for everything from scrambling eggs to searing meat to preparing a stir fry.
I’ll admit it: no one needs a toaster oven. But once you have one, you’ll never go back.
Obviously, it can make toast, but it’s also handy for reheating leftovers and even making small quantities of baked goods. Your grad will thank you for the convenience this little appliance provides.
A watch is a time-honored gift to mark life milestones such as graduation. These days, however, watches can do so much more than tell time. If you want to give your grad a watch they’ll actually use, then a smartwatch is an excellent choice.
As far as which watch to get, it depends on what kind of phone your grad has:
- Apple Watch – The best smartwatch if they have an iPhone.
- Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 – The best smartwatch if they have an Android.
The Instant Pot is great for making dinner, but what about a quick breakfast as your grad is rushing off to work? For this, get them a NutriBullet. This blender is ideal for making smoothies to get those daily servings of fruits and veggies.
Making your own coffee or tea at home is a great way to save money. But the best coffee or tea in the world is useless if it doesn’t stay the right temperature.
To help your grad keep their favorite drinks hot or cold for hours, get them one of these insulated tumblers.
A few years ago, my mom gave me a bedside lamp with a built-in USB port. While it seems like a small detail, it’s been extremely handy to have. With this lamp, your grad will have a light to read by and a place to charge their phone.
Gone are the days when you needed to lug around a bulky pair of headphones to listen to music on the go. These days, you can get wireless earbuds that connect to your phone or computer via Bluetooth. Earbuds like this are handy for flights, commutes, the gym, or just listening to music while you cook.
Our top pick for wireless earbuds is the Jabra Elite 75t. These earbuds work great with any phone or computer, have a long battery life, and are water-resistant (so your grad can take them to the gym).
Smart speakers are the way of the future, allowing you to do everything from controlling your lights to playing music.
Our favorite smart speaker is the Amazon Echo, which even lets you do cool things like order packages or food delivery.
Like the toaster oven, no one needs an electric kettle. But if your grad frequently makes coffee or tea at home, then they’ll love the convenience this appliance provides.
Just add water, press a button, and you’ll have boiling water in a couple of minutes — no stove required.
Do you know a grad who loves hot tea? Then get them one of these tea infusers from Adagio. They’re much cleaner and more convenient than traditional tea infusers.
If your grad is more of a coffee drinker, then introduce them to the world of excellent at-home coffee with an AeroPress.
This device makes rich, espresso-like coffee in minutes, and it’s easy to clean. For best results, pair it with this coffee grinder so they can grind their beans fresh.
Graduating college means heading into a new stage of life. During this time, your grad will meet new people, have new experiences, and grow as a person.
A journal is a great way to reflect during this time, and you can’t do better than this journal from Moleskine. It’s compact enough to fit in a purse or backpack, and it’s a pleasure to write in.
I don’t usually make clothing recommendations since it’s such a personal choice, but I think almost anyone can benefit from a Buff.
Made from Merino wool, it’s great for keeping your head, neck, and face warm. And in the warm months, your grad can use it as protection from the sun and to wick away sweat.
A set of towels embroidered with your grad’s name makes a fun, personalized gift. Available in a variety of colors, this set includes both a bath and a hand towel. All you have to do is pick a color and enter your grad’s name.
For many grads, post-college will be the first time they have enough money to travel on their own. Help fuel their wanderlust with this scratch-off world map.
Your grad’s first apartment out of college may not be the quietest of places. Whether it’s loud neighbors or the fire station down the street, noise can make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep.
Spending all of your time hunched over a laptop can lead to terrible posture and chronic pain. Help your grad stay ergonomic with a Roost laptop stand.
Your grad will likely end up living in a small studio or one-bedroom apartment, which means space will be at a premium.
In these situations, a cordless vacuum can be a great tool to have. This model from Dyson is powerful enough to clean carpet and rugs, yet it’s small enough to tuck into a corner or closet when not in use.
While they’re becoming less necessary in the digital age, a printer is still a useful tool to have for documents that you need physical copies of. This model is wireless and can even connect to a smartphone or tablet.
I hope this guide has made your college graduation gift search a bit easier. If you’re also shopping for a high school graduation gift, check out this guide. We also have a gift guide for students who are still in college.
Image Credits: graduates moving tassels on caps