Useful Graduation Gifts Every Freshman Needs

Graduating high school is pretty awesome—no more block schedules, homerooms, or drawn out gym assemblies—but best of all is the sweet grad gifts you’ll get!

While it’s tempting to ask for the latest tablet computer, smartphone, or the ever-popular wad of cash, those are most likely the kind of goodies your friends and family members already know are in high demand. Instead, why not ask for a few items that’ll come in handy once you start college?

Here are five smart grad gifts that every freshman needs.

1). Portable speakers

Whether you’re in a study group, relaxing on the beach, or hanging out in the park, having the right music on-hand is the easiest way to get the party started. What’s better than being able to whip out your mp3 player and turn up your favorite jam? Plus, when you get back home you can plug them into your laptop and *viola!* you have a mini surround sound system in your room.

2). Noise canceling headphones

Conversely, if music is your way to focus (or escape!) then a good set of noise canceling headphones are a must. Student centers, quads, and even the library are bustling with people and drowning out the distractions is key to getting your work done.

3). Formal dress clothes (suit & tie for men/blouse & skirt for women)

That hoodie/sweatpants combo repping your school colors is great and all, but it’s far from appropriate for more formal occasions like a school ceremony or job interview. Having a few dress outfits that you can mix and match will give you the flexibility to put your own style on display while maintaining a sense of proper social etiquette.

4). Bed lifts & under-bed storage unit

If you’re moving into a dorm or renting out a room off-campus, then space efficiency is the name of the game. One great place to store your stuff that often goes underutilized is the space under your bed. Pick up a set of 5-inch bed lifts (wooden sets tend to last much longer than plastic) and you now have a generous storage area that’s out of the way and hidden to guests.

5). Collapsible laundry hamper & basket

These may not seem like the most fun or exciting presents to receive, but you’d be surprised how ill-equipped some freshmen are when it comes to doing their laundry. These two items will make a world of difference between that smelly pile of clothes at the foot of your bed and the neatly tucked away hamper nobody even noticed. And honestly, do you really want to be that kid hauling their laundry around in a garbage bag? We didn’t think so either.

What grad gifts would you recommend for an incoming freshman? Tell us in a comment below!

written by
Sean Castillo
April 13, 2012

28 Responses to “Useful Graduation Gifts Every Freshman Needs”

  1. Donisha
    April 16, 2012 at 10:52 am #


  2. Cala
    April 21, 2012 at 10:26 am #

    A fan would be great. I heard the dorms doesn’t have any fan and during the summer, it feels like students are cooking. So I would recommend a fan.

  3. Samantha
    April 22, 2012 at 9:02 am #

    A small vacuum that can be tucked away in a closet or even just a hand vacuum for cleaning up, very inexpensive and a handy tool.

  4. Essence
    April 22, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

    A lock-box would be also be useful, just in case you can’t trust your roommate.

  5. Stephanie
    April 22, 2012 at 10:12 pm #

    A small set of dishes – bowl, plate, fork, knife, and a few cups (one for you and for a friend!). Good to have around the dorm so you can have a bowl of cereal in your room for breakfast or a PB&J for those late night study sessions.

  6. Sarah
    April 23, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

    These are all great ideas! I’m starting college this fall and I need to figure out what to bring. Thanks for the tips!

  7. Luke
    April 23, 2012 at 7:39 pm #

    A longboard for transportation! If your good at it anyways…

  8. Anthony
    April 27, 2012 at 5:53 pm #

    How about a car

  9. Gustavo
    April 27, 2012 at 9:22 pm #

    car maybe if you can offord to buy it ,pay for insurance and gas

  10. Alazar
    April 28, 2012 at 7:22 am #

    First-aid kit and TV.

  11. H
    April 28, 2012 at 9:08 am #

    The little plastic shower totes with nice body washes, shaving creme, lufa, and lotions. It’s a useful gift that can be made really cute and personal

  12. Aponi
    April 28, 2012 at 10:57 am #

    Sams club pencil boxs get 1000 penicls in it
    they sell them for high lighters ,tape ,stables,ect are sold like that even socks (just buy them a sams club membership)

  13. Emma
    April 29, 2012 at 4:44 pm #

    Noise cancelling headphones are THE BEST. I’m not even in college yet, but I live in a small house with a big, loud, family, and I wouldn’t be able to function without mine! Seriously, splurge on some quality ones, you’ll be glad you did.

  14. Alanna
    April 30, 2012 at 11:36 am #

    A nice set of sheets, pillows, and comforter is very nice- also an electric blanket (for those of us who get cold easily). I’m going to college in the fall and the rooms at my school don’t even have beds… a futon would be nice as well

  15. Cindy
    April 30, 2012 at 11:51 am #

    A plastic mattress cover is a MUST! (you don’t know what’s crawling around on those things) Also a mattress pad because those beds are so uncomfortable & SHOWER SHOES!

  16. Linda
    April 30, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

    A good reading light. And a lightweight headlamp in the event you want to read when your roommate has gone to sleep.

  17. Mom
    May 1, 2012 at 3:06 am #

    These are all really great ideas. I’m sending my son off to college this year and was trying to think of some practical gift ideas. Thanks!

  18. Todd
    May 2, 2012 at 10:31 am #

    Over the door hanging hooks, Great for coats, belts, etc. when there isn’t much room in the closets. Also, buy the slim hangers for your clothes. They do make all the difference.
    Finally, a toothbrush holder and hand soap dispensers.

  19. sarah
    May 3, 2012 at 9:58 pm #

    Powerstrips. might want to check the room limits/restrictions ect.
    fridge, microwave, kindle. small storage units- boxes/shelves ect

  20. Naz
    May 3, 2012 at 11:33 pm #


  21. Lindy
    May 4, 2012 at 8:25 am #

    I think that anything that allows for easy storage and organization is a must. I am an organized slob who can be a little obsessive compolsive, so anything that can keep my mess organized and looking neat is imparitive. I am going to be going to UCSD in the fall and I have seen closets bigger than thier tripple dorms, so space saving storage would be nice and lots of sun block.

  22. Ludmilla
    May 6, 2012 at 7:13 am #

    I am going to GCSU at the fall and since the dorms are very smalls the best gift would be storage boxes, because I can very messy and a laptop would be perfect !!!!!!!!!!

  23. Samantha
    May 6, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

    A $250 gift card for Ikea!

  24. Angela
    May 9, 2012 at 9:50 am #

    Towels are a must for college students. I have also made laundry bags that can be monogrammed. I have also made towel wraps for the shower.

  25. Xena
    May 24, 2012 at 10:42 pm #

    Shower shoes!
    Bed set–like the sheets and pillows and stuff
    Ripstik? that is a pretty awesome form of transportation..although would be kind of difficult if your hands are full (It is a like a skateboard but has two wheels instead of a scooter but without the handle)
    probably like soccer balls or basket balls also? if the perosn is sporty
    um..another idea is like clothes from the college/univerisity the person is going t-shirt/sweatshirt..etc…although those can get pricey, but I do know some colleges will donate those kind of things to schools…my school called the colleges the kids who graduated this year were accepted to and asked for t-shirts..all obliged :D
    definately school pencils, papers, can even get those cute themed ones from somewhere that are you know college :D
    backpack/messenger bag

  26. Lori
    June 7, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

    A small tool set with the basics; hammer, screwdriver, tape measure. You will feel so empowered when you can fix the little things that break without having to call maintenance & wait for help.

  27. sierra
    June 14, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

    Definitely look in to space bag. The one’s you vacuum out the air. Would save loads of space for those of us with large wardrobes and plenty of towels/bedding. Food gift cards too.

  28. Kim
    October 10, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

    For girls: a Vera Bradley Wristlet to carry her phone, key, and college ID card. Anything Vera Bradley actually is pretty useful and trendy.

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