Cool Gift Ideas for the College Student in Your Life

Buying gifts for young people is such a hassle sometimes. It might seem mean to say, but it’s true, and most young folks would probably admit it readily. It’s an interesting age – still an adult but likely still in college, and therefore still a youngster, but with adult responsibilities…their needs are still likely being taken care of by their parents, and without a ton of time to devote to extracurricular activities (i.e. toys), what is there left to get them? Buying them clothing or accessories is often out, because you don’t know their style and for young people, being on-trend and fashionable is pretty much everything. Plus, they’re picky. 

So what do you get that young person who seemingly has everything except a ton of time? Below are a few cool ideas for the college student in your life, guaranteed to help get them through tough classes, heartbreak, and more.

Image Credit: Buro Millennial

Graphic Hoodies

Get something highly functional and practical, yet still able to be a medium to express one’s sense of style and personality. A staple among college kids, the humble hoodie keeps a student warm and cozy with an added perk of keeping it fashionable. Graphic hoodies come in different colors and designs to best suit a kid’s outlook on life. Is the young person into anime? A classic Totoro or Dragonball design may be the perfect fit. Need something to chase the angst and blues experience in college away? Perhaps some 90’s Daria or vaporwave graphic designs will do the trick. Graphic hoodies may very well be considered as the gift that keeps on giving – it’s a practical yet highly-personalized article of clothing that kids will appreciate.


No, we’re not talking about a subscription to National Geographic (though that’s actually still a really cool gift idea for people of pretty much any age) or a subscription to Hulu. We’re talking about subscriptions to cool items like chocolate subscriptions, for those late night cravings, a coffee subscription for the student who lives off of Java, and even subscription boxes for the geek or beauty-obsessed person in your life. Basically you name it, there’s a subscription service for it. And since college kids are often strapped for cash, they’ll really appreciate that box that comes every month, no matter what fills that box. It’s a neat gift idea that will see them receive something for months to come, and you’ll both look forward to that. 

Desktop Computer

It goes without saying that computers are a staple in the academic arsenal of any college student. After all, there will always be reports that need to be typed and presentations that need to be put together. The only problem, though, is that, if you’re on a budget and you’re not particularly knowledgeable at determining good specs, you may end up with a really expensive purchase.

To save on cash without sacrificing the quality of your college student’s output, you can get a refurbished desktop computer. Contrary to popular belief, refurbished gadgets are actually just as efficient as the brand-new ones are. Certified refurbished computers go through a rigorous cleaning and testing process to make sure they have high-level functionality and pass quality standards. Just make sure to buy the computer from a reputable manufacturer and that the gadget comes with a warranty.

Gift Cards

We know, it seems so boring and impersonal, but young generations really, truly, genuinely want them. Gift cards exist these days for literally everything, so there’s still some choice involved, and you can make the gift personal. Everything from prepaid debit cards to restaurant and coffeeshop gift cards, streaming services, online games, clothing stores, gas cards, and more. You can even buy gift cards at colleges for dining halls and textbooks!

Again, college kids are often super strapped financially, so a gift card is a present they’ll genuinely appreciate, and you know they’re going to use it. There’s zero chance of it getting thrown into the back of a drawer like that patchwork scarf you bought them last year. 


If there’s ever a time you can get away with giving a book as a gift, it’s now. College students are already immersed in the world of reading, already in that mode, so giving them the gift of a great book is a wonderful idea. As they are forging their identities, young people are looking to read everything they can get their hands on, and there’s a great chance that whatever awesome book you buy them, it’s going to go on their bookshelf. Put a cheesy or funny inscription on the inside to up the nostalgia factor when they pass the same book onto their kid in a couple of decades. 

A Gift Basket

Gift baskets are excellent go-to gifts when you don’t know what to get and don’t have enough time to choose carefully. The best thing about gift baskets is that they contain many items, so you’re bound to get something right. Plus, there are plenty of options to choose from. Consider what the college student in your life likes. If you’re unsure, you can never go wrong with a basket full of fine wine, snacks, or self-care products.

These are just three no-fail gift ideas for the college student in your life. If you get them one of these items (or maybe all three for that nephew or niece who really deserves it), they’re going to really love it, we promise.

Award-winning writer, blogger, social media consultant and charity campaigner. Social Media Manager for BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogging network Freelance clients include Firefly Communications and Save the Children UK. Works with brands on marketing projects. Examples include Visit Orlando, Give As You Live, Coca-Cola and Kodak. Cambridge Law graduate with many years experience working across three sectors in advice, media relations, events, training and project management. Available for hire at affordable rates.

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