Huge congratulations to the high school graduate in your life! As a parent, it’s so exciting to watch your child walk on the stage and off, diploma in hand. Celebrating 12 years of hard work is a wonderful thing before thinking about what comes next. After the high of graduation wears off, the reality of leaving home for college sets in. Help lessen the anxiety and nervousness by giving graduation gifts for college bound high school grads that celebrate and prepare them for what lies ahead.
Best Gifts for College Bound High School Grads
This collection of gifts for college bound high school grads is based on the things my own daughter (currently a rising college sophomore) received as she graduated from high school. They’re thoughtful, yet practical, things that weren’t on our radar as she graduated. The best part about these gifts is she uses them every day. She even reviewed this list before I hit publish!
Something to Remind Them of Home
We sent our daughter to school with a Well Told Custom Water Bottle ($34.95) that features a map of her hometown. She carries her Well Told with her to and from class and even tucks it in her backpack to stay hydrated during flights home! Well Told’s custom etched items are absolutely stunning and functional. The triple-wall vacuum insulated stainless steel keeps drinks hot for 12 hours or cold for 24. It’s a distinctive gift a college student will use every day they’re in school and well after they graduate.
A gift bag of items unique to your city or state also makes a wonderful gift for college bound high school grads to remember home. My daughter got a Maryland themed gift bag featuring a tumbler, playing cards, stickers, and a keychain featuring our distinctive state flag and our state’s obsession with crabs from a wonderful neighbor. All of the items were useful, meaningful, and easy to pack.
Years ago we purchased our kids L.L. Bean Extra-Large Rolling Adventure Duffels and had them embroidered with their names. This fall our daughter packed hers when she left for school and it’s been traveling back and forth ever since. A duffel is advantageous over luggage because it’s fairly flat and can be tucked in the corner of a closet or under a dorm room bed. Plus the quality and durability of an L.L. Bean duffle can’t be beat since it will last beyond their college years.
Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Another fantastic gift was a this JBL Portable Bluetooth Speaker ($49.95). It’s super compact yet provides big sound for up to 10 hours on a charge. The metal carabiner means it can be easily clipped to a backpack for streaming music from a phone when studying outside. It’s also highly durable thanks rugged rubber housing and being completely waterproof.
A dorm room is only so big so organizational supplies are a practical and helpful gift for any college student. Small bins for desk drawers help corral items while plastic stacking tubs maximize closet space. A set of storage drawers was a must-have for my daughter for much needed extra storage space under her lofted bed. Over the door shoe organizers help free up valuable floor space and can also be used to corral snacks.
Squirrel Bedside Perch (get 20% off the regular price of $49.95 on Amazon) is what every college student needs to keep their most important things within reach. In most rooms the available furniture, configuration of the space, or desire to loft beds for more space doesn’t allow for a bedside table which is where Squirrel comes in. Squirrel is a handy bedside caddy that features five different compartments designed to hold it all. It features two built-in charging ports for USB-C and USB-A devices to keep electronics fully charged and always in reach. Despite its compact size, it can hold a 32 oz. water bottle, remote, phone, tablet, and more. Best of all no tools are required for installation. Keep reading to enter to win a Squirrel!
Backpack Style Laundry Bag
A laundry bag may not seem like the most exciting gift for college bound high school grads but it’s one of those practical gifts that always gets used. My daughter got a backpack style laundry bag and loves the large size. It’s easy to carry thanks to the straps and it doesn’t take up a lot of room in her dorm room like a laundry basket. A mesh pocket on the outside is great for carrying laundry pods, detergent bottles, or dryer sheets to the laundry room. Even though most students have digital swipe laundry, if you’re giving this gift in person, include a roll of quarters. My daughter’s swipe system was broken at the start of the school year that left students scrounging for quarters!
Cash is helpful but gift cards as gifts for college bound high school grads are also most welcome! As an East Coaster heading west for college, the In ‘n Out Burger gift card sent by my daughter’s aunt and uncle was a perfect graduation gift. It was creative, thoughtful, and something she definitely enjoyed using after late night study sessions when a craving for a burger and shake hit!
Here are some other gift card ideas that make wonderful gifts for college bound high school grads:
- Campus bookstore– The campus bookstore has it all! From required course materials, college apparel and swag, Post-It Notes, charging cables, to snacks. It’s a convenient place for any college student to shop quickly and conveniently.
- Food delivery– Dining hall food is much improved over what it used to be but sometimes cravings go beyond what is being served. There’s also a need to fuel up after late night study sessions, sports practices, or games. You can always count on a college student to appreciate and use a GrubHub, Uber Eats, or DoorDash gift card.
- Target– So much of what we bought our daughter for her dorm room came from Target. It’s also one of the most frequent places she and her friends visit to stock up on things they need. A Target gift card will always get used by a college student! Tip: Target offers a 1 time student discount of 15% off a single purchase for Target Circle members verified as students. My daughter registered for this last summer and coordinated with her roommate to use the discount on a mini fridge and other things she wanted to ship directly to school. The discount is off the total purchase of eligible items (most are eligible!) so can be a great way to save money but is only offered once per year. College students need to re-verify each year and qualify to get it again. This post has more information about the Target Student Discount.
Enter to Win a Squirrel Bedside Perch
Squirrel is providing one Bedside Perch as a reader giveaway! To enter, leave a comment sharing what you’d put in your Squirrel Bedside Perch to always have within easy reach. Use the Rafflecopter form below for additional entries after you complete the required one in Rafflecopter.
Affiliate links are included in this post. Samples were received to facilitate this post but no compensation was received and all opinions are my own.