For many young people, college marks an important new chapter of independence, which can come with extra levels of fun and intimidation. Whether your student feels homesick from the moment they pack up their car or they're riding high on excitement all the way to orientation, they'll appreciate getting a special gift to help them make the most of their time at school.
Perhaps you're also looking for a gift to celebrate a student's birthday, a holiday or another special occasion. Whatever the celebration, check out our list of 25 of the best gifts for college students to help pick something special they'll use and enjoy.
Tools and Appliances for Dorm Life
Many college students experience living in a dormitory during their time at school. If it's a student's first time living away from home, this can be exciting, but it can also be challenging. Aside from possible roommate drama and cramped quarters, all the comforts and amenities of home are no longer there.
You can help students make their dorm more functional and feel more like home with some useful tools and appliances. These gifts are especially appropriate for freshmen or students moving into their first apartment:
- Basic toolkit: Now is a great time to give students their first set of tools. Plenty of everyday tasks call for basic tools, whether it's putting together new furniture or hanging pictures on the wall. Look for a toolkit that comes in a compact case and contains only the essentials students might need — think a hammer, screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers and measuring tape.
- Compact vacuum: It's no secret that dorm rooms are often on the small side, so storage space is limited. Especially if a dorm is carpeted, students need a vacuum on hand to keep their room clean. Fortunately, there are some great compact vacuums on the market. Look for a vacuum that's lightweight, easy to maneuver and bagless to make it extra convenient for your college student.
- Single-cup coffee maker: Nearly half of 18-year-olds to 24-year-olds consider themselves coffee drinkers. If your college student enjoys some java in the morning or to fuel a late-night study session, consider outfitting their dorm with a single-cup coffee maker or an iced coffee maker if that's more their speed. These appliances can help students save money on trips to the local coffee shop and make their dorm feel more hospitable.
- Microwave ramen cooker: Whether students are making meals on a budget or just want a warm midnight snack, ramen is a go-to choice. Upgrade their ramen-making experience with a ramen cooker designed for microwave ovens. These cookers are made to deliver great ramen every time. Throw in a pair of reusable chopsticks and some packs of dried ramen for a fun themed gift.
- Desk organizer: Desks come standard in dorm rooms, but desktop organizers do not. Help your favorite student enhance their desktop with one of these organizers in a color or design they'll love. Desktop organizers can hold typical office supplies like pencils, highlighters and paper clips along with items like phones and tablets.
Practical Items for an On-The-Go Schedule
College life can feel nomadic at times. Most college students spend a large portion of their time out and about. Whether they're in class, in the library, at their workplace, hanging with a friend or on their way home for the weekend, they'll appreciate having certain items on hand. Consider these gifts for college students to help them stay organized on the go:
- Planner: Using a daily planner has some great benefits for the user, including improving time management and productivity and reducing stress. Help your college student start the semester or school year strong with a new planner where they can keep track of their schedule, make to-do lists and jot down ideas. Choose a cover design that fits their personality.
- Portable backup charger: No college student wants to find themselves out with a dying phone or tablet. Even if they keep a charger in their backpack, outlets aren't always accessible — especially if they're in the great outdoors. A battery charger is worth its weight in gold in these instances. Students can stay powered up even if they're off the grid.
- Bluetooth tracker: Everyone knows what it's like to lose their keys or wallet from time to time. Save students the anxiety, time and mess of tearing up their dorm searching with a Bluetooth tracker device. These gadgets attach to items like key rings so when students can't find the item, they use the Bluetooth connection to locate it right away.
- Backpack: Backpacks or other bookbags are essential for college students so they can haul their textbooks and binders with them wherever they go. If your college student is using a bag that's seen better days, why not treat them to an upgrade? Choose a backpack that matches their style, whether that means a sleek, sophisticated leather bag, a brightly colored athletic backpack or anything in between.
- Laundry hamper: Students are known to put off doing laundry until absolutely necessary, partly because it's a hassle. Help them transport their pile — or rather, mountain — of dirty laundry home or to the self-service washers and dryers on campus with a convenient laundry hamper. Choose a flexible laundry hamper equipped with handles or straps for easy carrying or a plastic one on wheels that they can pull behind them.
Gadgets to Make Study Time More Productive
Technology is a normal part of a college student's everyday life. When it comes to study time, the right types of tech can make a big difference. Especially for new students, consider gifting big-ticket items like a laptop or tablet. In other cases, you're probably wondering what smaller gadgets and accessories you can give a college student that they won't already have. Consider some of these tools that can help them make the most of their study and homework time:
- Smart notebook: Today, students don't have to choose between the act of physically taking notes and having all their notes accessible in a digital format. With a smart notebook, they can get the best of both worlds. A student sends their notes to the cloud after they're done writing, and then clears the page for their next note-taking session, making these notebooks reusable, eco-friendly and just plain cool.
- Lap desk: Even when there's a desk in their room, plenty of college students prefer the comfort of sitting on their bed to work. Make those essay-writing sessions more comfortable by giving them a lap desk. You can find lap desks in a wide variety of stylish looks. Plus, some come with handy features like a mouse pad so students can use a mouse if they prefer that over their laptop touchpad.
- Noise-canceling headphones: A 2018 study found what you could probably already guess — university students, both on-campus and off-campus, are annoyed by noise disturbances, and these disturbances may impact their educational achievement. Whether dealing with rowdy siblings at home or chatty roommates in their dorm, noise-canceling headphones are a major asset for students. They can listen to music and cut out all the distractions.
- Blue-light filtering glasses: All that time staring at a phone, tablet or laptop screen comes with a lot of blue light exposure. This can lead to eyestrain, and if your college student is on their devices after dark, it can disrupt their sleep patterns. Give your student the eye armor they need with some blue-light filtering glasses. These glasses keep blue light rays from reaching the eyes to help them avoid strain and to prevent sleep disruption.
- Desk lamp: For nights or early mornings when a cram session or essay-writing marathon is in order, a desk lamp is great to have. This can allow your student to illuminate their workspace without lighting up the whole room and disturbing their roommate. Pick a fun retro design or a sleek, modern LED task lamp with a phone stand.
Luxuries to Enhance Comfort and Wellness
Amidst all the late nights and busy schedules, it can be easy for a college student to neglect their own health and well-being. For example, many students have irregular and insufficient sleep schedules that can leave them dragging during the day and struggling to pay attention in class. Help students get the rest and relaxation they need and practice some self-care with these great gifts:
- White noise machine: According to a 2020 survey, over 70% of college students said they had an extremely difficult time falling asleep at some point over the past week, and 1 in 10 students said they experienced this difficulty all seven nights. A white noise machine can help lull students to sleep and block out noises that may otherwise keep them up.
- Weighted blanket: A weighted blanket isn't just for sleep — it can also help restless or anxious students feel relaxed and grounded. Weighted blankets have even shown positive results for people with certain neurological conditions, including autism and ADHD. Weighted blankets can be on the expensive side, but they feel luxurious and can help you give your student a warm hug, even from afar.
- Wake-up light alarm clock: Waking up to a frantic beeping sound probably isn't the best way for your student to start their day. Help them ease into their morning and wake up feeling more refreshed with a special alarm clock equipped with a wake-up light. These clocks mimic a sunrise as they gradually get brighter, making it easier to wake up during those dark winter mornings.
- Skin care products: Stress, poor eating habits and other factors can all cause some college students to experience breakouts on their skin. A lot of students won't want to splurge on a skin care kit, so this is a thoughtful gift you can give. Avoid complicated skin care routines with loads of bottles and tubes. Instead opt for a simple routine they can stick to with a cleanser, moisturizer and acne treatment.
- Aroma diffuser: Candles aren't allowed for safety reasons in many dorms, but there are other great ways students can fill their room with nice fragrances to help them relax. An aroma diffuser with some essential oils is a gift they're sure to love. You can even pick out oil blends designed for different things like stress relief or energy and focus.
Fun Gifts to Bring a Smile to Their Face
College should never be all work and no play. If you spent time in college, you probably still have some great memories with your friends from this time. Whether your student has a free weekend to have some fun or is having a difficult exam week and needs a cheerful pick-me-up, these are some great gifts they'll appreciate:
- Board games: Board games are one of the best group activities out there. Gift your college student a party game that's easy to learn and fun to play with friends. For the student who is into tabletop games, consider giving them some accessories for their game of choice, like an organizer case for dice and miniatures, to help them start a gaming campaign with some friends on campus.
- Media streamer: Gone are the days when you had to surf channels to find a show or movie you were interested in watching. Give your students a media streamer to plug into their TV, and they can browse libraries of movies and TV shows on free streaming platforms and the streaming platforms they subscribe to.
- Portable Bluetooth speaker: When your student wants to ditch the headphones and enjoy a dance party or karaoke with friends, a portable Bluetooth speaker is the way to go. They can select songs from their phone and blast music through the speaker. These speakers are compact, so they're also great for taking along for a lake day or any outing that deserves a backing track.
- Movie theater gift card: Find out what movie theaters are close to campus, and get your student a gift card so they can buy a movie ticket and a large tub of popcorn to help them blow off some steam when they have free time. When they're strapped for cash and can't justify splurging on entertainment, they'll have your gift card ready to go so they can still have some fun.
- Snack care package: Perhaps the most direct route to a college student's heart is through their stomach. Whether they're on top of the world or having an especially difficult week, getting a care package full of delicious snacks will be the highlight of their week and put a smile on their face. Look for a care package like CraveBox that features both sweet and salty treats to satisfy all their cravings.
Brighten Their Day With a Care Package From CraveBox
A thoughtful gift can be one of the best ways to show your favorite college student they can always count on your love and support. Send them a CraveBox when you want to show your love in a tangible and tasty way. A CraveBox is filled with some of the most popular snacks and candies your student is sure to love. Celebrate a special occasion or simply give them a delicious surprise to brighten their day with CraveBox. Choose your box on our online store today!