Gift Ideas for High School Grads & Upcoming College Freshmen

Hi everyone! Since we're in the thick of graduation season, I wanted to post a list of gift ideas for high school graduates, or gifts to give to students who are about to start college this fall! what are some of your go-to gifts for grads? Let me know in the comments!

$25 and Below

1.  Encouragement Notebook: 

If you're looking for a more handmade gift for your grad, one idea is to get a notebook or sketch book, and fill it with words of encouragement, advice, Bible Verses, or even jokes! 

2. Tile: Starts at $25

 This is one that I got as a gift a few months ago, its so great! You can attach Tile to anything you need to keep track of – I keep mine on my key chain, it saves me SO much time! 

I have a spot by my door where I almost always toss my keys when I get home, but every once in a while there are times that I don't leave them there. I used to have to spend a lot of time searching for them – not any more :-) 

3. Advice Books: ~$10

Barnes & Noble has a really great selection of books that I'm calling "advice books!" When I started college, I was given a laundry basket full of little helpful gifts from my parents' church. One of these gifts was a book called If God Used Sticky Notes by Chris Shea, there are a few different variations of the book, "For Those Who Need A Little Comfort" and "For Those Who Need a Little Wisdom" would also be great options for young adults who are about to start a new chapter of their lives!

4. Wall Art for Dorm Rooms 

This Calendar wall decal  from PBteen is really similar to one that I had in my room when I lived in the dorms! I loved sitting down and re-doing the calendar each month, I would try to draw a different design to go with every season. It was a really helpful way to have all my upcoming papers and projects where I could see them easily, so they didn't sneak up on me! 

5. $20 Starbucks Gift Card!

Freshmen year was when I really started drinking coffee. A card for starbucks would let your grad have a little treat and a great spot to buckle down and work on that paper or prep for an upcoming test!

6. Tea Book & A Tea Cup:

Does your grad like tea? This book would be a fun read, and would also be a great "decorative book" or conversation piece in their dorm. 

A Unique Calendar - 

This calendar looks like it would be a great way to add some color to a dorm room! I like the positivity too ;) Its also really cool that the pages can be removed and framed and used as artwork after the month goes by. 

$25 to $50 Range

1. Tumbler for Beverages

Walking across campus to class can feel really cold during the winter months, giving your grad a thermos or tumbler would let them keep a warm drink in their hands as they make the trek to class! This one from Yeti is $30. 

2. Towel Set - ~40

This personalized towel set from PBteen is currently on sale for $40! It includes a hand towel, washcloth, and a bath towel! If your Grad is going to be living in the dorms and sharing a bathroom space, personalized towels would be a fun way to keep track of which linens are theirs 

3. Power Strip - $10 - $70

Looking for a more practical gift for your grad? One of the gifts in the laundry basket I mentioned earlier was a 12-Outlet Powerstrip. It was SO helpful! I actually still have it. Office Depot has a 6-Outlet Strip for just over $40. 

4. Portable Speakers - 

This Portable Speaker from Kinnucans would be a great gift for a music loving Grad! From relaxing in their room, to jamming out/dancing with their roommates, I could see this gift getting a lot of use! 

5. Flameless Scented Candles

For the grad who wants a cozy dorm room, LED candles would make a great gift! Most dorms don't allow candles, so these flameless ones are a great way to get the "feel" of a cozy candle, without the fire hazard!

$50 & Higher

1. Jewelry - 

This necklace from Amazon is so pretty! It comes in both silver and gold, and is $58. It's always nice to have a few "staple" pieces that could be worn in a variety of situations! 

2. Keurig or Other Coffee Maker

Walmart has this single cup Keurig for $99! I think I got one for Christmas halfway through my freshman year, but theres just something that makes mornings(or late night study sessions) so much easier! 

3. Birchbox or Birchbox Man

I've talked about Birchbox before, but its really one of my favorites! It's a fun little treat when it shows up in the mailbox, and the samples are a great way to try out different products to see what you like! Birchbox is $10/month, and Birchbox Man is $20/month


I've included a variety of different ideas, but there always the option of gift cards, money, or school supplies(or a combination of different things!). I've seen a lot of fun ways to give money as a gift, for some creative ideas, check out this post on Real Simple!

Like I said earlier, if you have any ideas for grad gifts, please add them to the comments! I love getting other perspectives :-)

I hope you all have great weekends ahead!!

xo, Lauren