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20 Graduation Gifts College Grads Actually Want (And Need)

20 Graduation Gifts College Grads Actually Want (And Need)

Four years of college have come and gone – hard to believe (for students and parents alike). So how do we show our humble college grads just how proud we truly are? Shower them with gifts of course. But instead of spending tons of money on bouquets of flowers, consider these 20 graduation gifts that are much more practical for any real world first-timer. (Okay, maybe keep the flowers…they’re a nice extra touch!

1. A laptop

If you’re looking to spend the big bucks, consider a new laptop as one of the most highly longed for graduation gifts. I mean, they’ve been using the same one now for (at least) 4 years – it’s definitely got some wear and tear. Surprise them with a brand spankin’ new laptop they can take to work and use in a professional setting!



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or a Tablet


If your graduate already has a working laptop from college, a tablet is the perfect gift especially if they are traveling for a bit before starting a job.

2. Cash

Boring, sure…but needed and appreciated? Definitely. What do the majority of recent college grads have in common? They’re all broke…like really, really broke. Thanks to student loans, a super competitive job market, and thoughtless spending over the past 4 years, chances are they could use all the money they can right now. Plus, you can always arrange the cash in a cute, graduation-inspired way…



3. A GLOSSYBOX Beauty Box Subscription

Every college graduate loves to feel beautiful, and with a subscription to GLOSSYBOX, they will feel just that! For only 21 dollars a month you get a box delivered to your doorstep with 5 deluxe beauty items. Now that’s a gift that keeps on giving!


4. A gift card

You’ve got a lot of options with this one: Restaurants, gas companies, grocery stores, bed and bath brands – basically any type of company that offers some sort of product or service that will be needed at some point in your young grad’s near future.

5. A gym membership

When real life hits you hard in the face, it’s common that recent graduates start to stray from a healthy lifestyle. Stress, lack of time (and money – gyms are expensive) and no accountability all play their part in this quick digression. Help discourage this lifestyle by setting them up with a prepaid gym membership.


6. Their own Netflix account

That’s right, their own account, with their own password and everything…AKA, no more getting kicked out because there are “too many devices logged in with this account.” I guess you could say this is one of those graduation gifts that’s beneficial for you both!


7. A FabFitFun subscription box

There are quite a bit of options for these type of graduation gifts because, well, there are literally thousands of different subscription boxes available. Pick a box depending on your grad’s interests. Keep in mind that they’ll probably be spending less on items that they really love (because of the whole being really poor thing), so receiving a little gift each month, jam-packed with products that they actually want, will definitely bring a smile to their face.

8. A Business card holder

Admit it – the first time you received a business card with your name on it was pretty freakin’ awesome. It was the first time I actually felt like a “big girl,” like I was actually legit. (Funny when I look back on that moment now…I mean it’s JUST a a piece of paper!) Anticipate that moment for your new grad and make it even better with a sleek, personalized business card holder.




9. A work bag or laptop case

Not trying to spend thousands of dollars on graduation gifts? How about instead of a new laptop, a nice, new laptop case instead. Don’t let your new grad show up to work with a grungy old backpack; set them up nicely with a classy and sophisticated briefcase or messenger bag.




10. Quality luggage

Whether it be travelling back home to visit good ole mom and dad, jet setting across the world before settling down to a stable office job, or just taking a well deserved vacation – if your grad plans on doing any sort of traveling in their newly independent life, they could probably use some quality pieces of luggage…which are expensive…AKA great graduation gifts.


Main Image - CALPAK Ambeur 20-Inch Rolling Spinner Carry-On  


11. A flight to alumni weekend

This one probably only applies to those who plan on living somewhere far away from where they graduated college – but an awesome gift idea if this is the case. Just be sure to purchase refundable or exchangeable tickets in case alumni weekend happens to fall on a date they can’t attend.


12. College memorabilia

What better way to celebrate your graduate’s commencement than giving them a little something to remind them of the place that has taken them where they are now. Blankets are a great choice because they can be used to decorate new apartments AND show off college pride.

13. Printed Instagram photos

For a more personal graduation gift, opt for something that will really tug at the heartstrings; like photos that will remind them of the best four years of their life (cue the tears). Use the Social Print Studio to print photos from their Instagram account in the form of calendars, magnets, canvases, frames, etc – perfect for hanging in their new apartment.



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14. A funny t-shirt

Not trying to go the sentimental route? How about something that’ll trigger a few laughs, like this hilarious t-shirt.


15. The Graduate’s Survival Guide

Okay, is there actually a better graduation gift than a book/DVD that basically guides you every step of the way through adulthood? I don’t think so. Full of topics that every new adult will be faced with at some point in the near future – while this read may be a little intimidating at first, it’ll definitely come in handy.


16. Cookbooks

For those who like to cook, and even those who don’t – recipe books WILL be useful to any recent graduate about to live on their own. My advice? Get a few books that offer easy recipes with simple ingredients…especially for those who aren’t too savvy in the kitchen.


17. A quality coffee maker

Getting through real life = coffee…lots and lots of coffee. Hook up your new grad with a fancy single serve coffee maker and they’ll be a happy camper – delicious coffee at the click of a button and no need to spend $$$ on Starbucks.



18. A DIY “Welcome to the Real World” Basket

This is one of my personal favorites – it’s personal, creative and insanely useful. First, purchase a cute basket that can be re-purposed as apartment decor. Now, fill that basket with anything you can think of that your new grad will need after college – the options are literally endless. Apartment decor, towels, mugs, wine glasses, gas cards, cookbooks (yes, the other ideas on this list make for great ideas), etc.

19. A vacuum

Looking back on it – this probably would have been the best graduation gift I could have recieved. I’ve been out of school for years now…and I still don’t have a vacuum (hint, hint, mom). It may not be the most exciting present, but it is one absolutely everyone needs…whether they want it or not.



20. Booze

Let’s face it. They’re recent college grads – most of them have just spent the last four years of their life partying…hard. Continue the celebration right through graduation with a nice bottle of champagne and set of flutes, tasty bottle of wine coupled with a wine glass set, or an upscale pack of beer and some cool beer mugs.



20 Graduation Gifts College Students Actually Want

Do you have any more ideas for graduation gifts? Share in the comments below!

*This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

Featured image source: Jimmy Song Photography;