College Wishlist 101: Top Picks to Spend Your Graduation Money On

Though your high school graduation is probably an emotional, bittersweet time as you transition to college, it’s the same for your family as they watch the little kid from just a few years ago suddenly go on to become an ADULT. It would explain the tearstains on the graduation card from your grandma—you know, those big fat circles right next to that couple hundred dollars enclosed…

Wait. Did she give you…

Two. Hundred. Dollars?!

Now you can finally buy yourself an awesome, better-looking, new cellphone to replace the one you got last month, right?

Hold up, college student to-be. When you’re on the road to higher ed, you can’t just go throwing monetary gifts all over the place.

So what are you supposed to spend all that money from your grandparents, your aunts, your uncles, and even your cousin three times removed?

Keep your college student eyes peeled for these awesome gadgets that not only look cool but also will help you a TON when you’re in class or hanging out in your dorm:


It’s a pen, it’s a recorder, it’s a…SmartPen!


I’ve never personally used one, since I prefer to take typed notes on my laptop rather than use a notebook, but if you’re the kind who studies better from your own handwriting, look into these futuristic writing gadgets!

Going to class and taking notes is a whole different ballgame compared to in high school, and smart pens can accommodates just that. You can record your professors’ lectures and make your notes digital (but still in your own handwriting!). Their newest pen even has access to the almighty wifi!

Bonus: If you’re like me and aren’t a huge fan of writing notes by hand, spending your money on a new laptop and even a printer/copier is a great investment.


The perfect gadget for your favorite deranged octopus–erm, computer.

USB Accessories (Hubs and Cable Organizer)

Everybody—and I mean everybody—loves and needs to use USB cords and flashdrives. Designers go crazy over them, trying to make them cuter and cooler.

But let’s get kind of practical. You have a cord for your mouse, to sync your iPod to iTunes, for your various flashdrives, and maybe even for a CD drive, a keyboard, and a large monitor. Your computer ends up looking like a deranged octopus. And with a dorm and thus a smaller desk, you need to learn to organize your space better. If you don’t use them already, buy yourself a good hub, or maybe a cable organizer. If you’re crazy about your USB cords, maybe you need both!


Holds your pens, books, laptop…what more can you ask for?


Remember what we were saying about trying to save up on space for your desk?

For those times when you’re too lazy to study or surf the net on a real desk, try out this modular one that holds your laptop but also organizes your books and pens—that way, the latter doesn’t make markings all over your blankets and sheets! And when you’re not using it, you can hang it up on your bedframe. Write on!


How to be a college ninja in two easy steps: 1) Buy this vault. 2) Attach it to and hide it under your dorm bed.


In your daydreams, you become besties for life with your roommate, but in reality you’re probably a little wary about sharing a room with a complete stranger.

What if they want to use your notes? Hack your Facebook account? Steal your cellphone or iPod? Or what if someone breaks into your dorm room to do any of those things? These hypothetical situations are all easily preventable with this snazzy vault. How official do you feel now?


Careful, even your roommates might want to use it when it’s their turn to shower.


If you’re like me and get the best ideas in the shower, this amazing invention was made just for us.

Imagine this scenario: you’re showering away, trying to put your mind at rest from school, when—out of the blue—you remember that you have an essay due in two days! You have absolutely no idea what you’re going to write about, so you start brainstorming whilst shampooing your hair. Or if you’re ever in need of getting those brain juices flowing in the shower, AquaNotes also sells waterproof word searches and mazes. Maybe college is the time to learn how to multi-task efficiently, too, and AquaNotes can help you with that!

Bonus: If the whole waterproof writing concept appeals to you, check out ThinkGeek’s cool waterproof notebook. You can draw in the rain! How about that!


They’re more than just a pretty face. Or cover.

Keys and Phone Finders

Everybody loses their phone and their keys every so often. But what if you could use your phone to find your keys? Or your keys to find your phone?

The folks at BiKN have solved this problem for iPhone users: download their app, purchase their sleek phone and key accessories, and you’re good to go to find your essentials should you be missing one! And for those of you sporting an Android, there are some great locator apps you can buy for cheap. We’re not sure quite sure what to say if you lose BOTH your keys and your phone though…

**NOTE: Prices will vary on these products—sometimes, larger retailers (especially office stores) sell them for much lower. DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE YOU SPEND YOUR GRADUATION MONEY UNNECESSARILY. As said earlier, in the world of higher-ed, that is the one thing you need to learn to avoid!**

Which of these awesome items would you put on your college wishlist? What other cool and useful gadgets do you want to spend your graduation money on? Tell us in a comment below.

written by
Jacqueline Kim
April 29, 2013

4 Responses to “College Wishlist 101: Top Picks to Spend Your Graduation Money On”

  1. Jordan Rodriguez
    May 2, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    All of these are great gadget finds. It is so true about getting good ideas in the shower, but the moment I walk out it’s like they all just disappear. I may hafta buy one of those waterproof notepads.

  2. TeenLife
    May 24, 2013 at 9:06 am #

    I remember getting high school graduation money, I wish I had spent my money more wisely! This is such a perfect way to spend money in a fun, yet responsible way before college. Definitely an article more teens need to read. I would love, again, to share this on TeenLife’s blog as well. Teens need to hear this information!


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