The Best Gifts For College Students That They Will Actually Use

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College students are similar to bees; they never stop. From doing homework, studying for midterms, working, finding an internship, hanging out with friends and sleeping, there’s not much time to relax. Along with that, students might not have much spending money leftover which is why gifts can be such a nice gesture.

If you’re looking for a useful and thoughtful gift for a college student, this list is a great place to find some inspiration. Plus, as a junior in college, you can trust that I have a good idea of what you should get that will actually be handy.

A reusable water bottle that will keep your water cold all day long

Hydro Flask

With all the walking college students do, a good water bottle is an absolute must. This may be at the top of the list for one of the most useful things for a college student. I know my roommate takes hers everywhere.

The hydro flask is the perfect stainless steel water bottle as it has a tempshield that ensures cold beverages stay ice cold for 24 hours and hot drinks stays steamy hot for 6 hours. Along with that, you don’t have to worry about any condensation or sweat on the outside of the bottle.

If you prefer buying a coffee mug (maybe if it’s winter), then try the zojirushi travel mug or the contigo which keeps your drinks hot for hours.

A duffel bag for all the weekend travels + storage

Vera Bradley Duffel Bag

Duffel bags are great for those weekend getaways with friends or simply going home for the weekend. Whichever it is, this will most certainly get good use out of it and be a handy gift for all college students who plan to go back and forth a couple times. Plus, this will be used way beyond the college years for sure.

Fun additions that will make their tv the complete package

Fire TV Stick

Not everyone brings a tv, but for anyone who does, having access to more than the standard channels is nice. My roommate and I are thinking about getting one for next semester, so that we have more choices if we have a movie night. Plus, you can also add on the echo dot which is a device that serves as an alarm, a music speaker, a phone and so much more. You can check that out here.

Bluetooth Apple Airpods that I see everywhere on campus

Apple Airpods

These have become the hot thing to have and there is not a day that goes by on campus where I don’t see someone jamming out with the wireless pods. If you think someone wants them, then you should definitely go for it. However, make sure they actually want them before purchasing. It’s a hefty price.

A gift card that can come in handy for many different things

Amazon Gift Card

If you buy an Amazon gift card for a college student, they will probably deeply appreciate it. Especially when it comes to buying textbooks at the beginning of each semester. However, this is great in general since it allows them to buy whatever they need at the moment. For me, I would probably end up buying a couple books on Kindle because I’m in the book binge mood right now. This is perfect for anyone who has no idea what to buy.

Frame your memories as a thoughtful gift

Picture Frame

What shouts ‘thoughtful gift’ more than a framed picture of a specific memory. I personally love when someone does this which usually means it’ll become the centerpiece of the room . . . ie. the middle of my desk (or shelf, it really depends on the layout of the room actually). Anyway, this is always a cute and budget-friendly gift that you can do whenever. No special occasion necessary.

A cute travel laundry bag that can hold a lot

Laundry Bag

If the laundry room isn’t a few seconds away and they have to travel downstairs or actually leave their dorm building, then they won’t want to lug a hamper around. If you would rather buy a laundry backpack (two straps), then you can check that out here.

A hilarious card or party game for a fun night

That’s What She Said – The Party Game

Who doesn’t love a fun party game that is sure to bring out some hilarious moments? Look at these popular adult games for a fun gift to give to a college student.

The perfect book to prepare you for college  

The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College

In this book, you can find a variety of stories and pieces of advice all about college life and how to deal with it. If you know a freshman in college, this might just be something they would enjoy. Especially if they’re stressed about the entire change. However, any college student would probably have a lot of fun reading this and getting a kick out of any relatable moments.

A pillow that reminds me of the pink fluffy clouds in Peter Pan

Cross-Cut Hypoallergenic Certipur Memory Foam Pillow with Washable Removable Cooling Bamboo Derived Rayon Cover

With more than 16,000 reviews on Amazon, you can bet that this is a quality pillow that anyone would love. Especially a college student when midterms and finals come around. A good night’s rest is essential (or at least helps) when it comes to getting that A. For a more affordable pillow, check out the WEEKENDER Ventilated Gel Memory Foam Pillow.

An extra long phone charger for all those hard to reach outlets

AmazonBasics Nylon Braided Lightning to USB A Cable – MFi Certified iPhone Charger

A long phone charger allows for more flexibility in charging locations. It can be especially difficult if you don’t have an extension cord/power strip and the outlet is a few feet below the bed. In that case, the long cord will be a lifesaver when the battery life is about to die.

A much needed food care package

Barnett’s Chocolate Cookies Gift Basket

Dining halls may be fun and exciting the first few weeks, but then you realize it’s the same stuff every month. After that, it gets old quick. Moreover, a great gift for a college student is a food care package. It’s thoughtful and handy during the winter months when students might not feel like walking to the dining hall (if it’s not close).

You can even make everything yourself if you enjoy cooking/baking. Another care package to look into is the mega snack variety gift box which has 50 different snacks. For a healthier option, check out the dried fruit and nuts gift basket.

A cookbook with simple recipes perfect for a busy college student

Prep: The Essential College Cookbook

If you know that they’ll be cooking for themselves, then this is a helpful cookbook to have on hand. Especially if they’re not confident in their kitchen skills. Basically, this is a guide for learning how to cook + tasty and simple recipes.

As the sayinging goes, “better thinking, better living”

Good Days Start With Gratitude: A 52 Week Guide To Cultivate An Attitude Of Gratitude: Gratitude Journal

Zen as F*ck: A Journal for Practicing the Mindful Art of Not Giving a Sh*t

Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration

With so many things on their plate, it’s no surprise that college students can easily become stressed. If you know that they’re stressed, then a thoughtful gift would be one or a combination of these three self-help journals. Also, if pet therapy is available at their school, they should definitely take advantage.

A sturdy bag for the gym that will last is a handy essential

Under Armour Undeniable Duffle 3.0 Gym Bag

The duffle gym bag has more than 1,000 reviews on Amazon and is a bestseller. If that doesn’t speak for itself, then there is also the added feature of it being highly water-resistant. Along with that, there is a large vented pocket created specifically for laundry or shoes (ie. the bag will not carry a stench/odor if any used gym clothes are thrown in.

A blanket that feels like a comforting hug

Quility Premium Kids & Adult Weighted Blanket & Removable Cover

The weighted blanket is a game changer for anyone who has trouble falling asleep. It can help you fall asleep faster and sleep better throughout the night. With more than 7,000 5-star reviews on Amazon, it is definitely an essential for a college student. Especially during freshman year when they need that hug most (it can be a rough first semester).

Keep your ID and money on you at all times with the phone card holder

Cellessentials Card Holder for Back of Phone – Silicone Stick on Cell Phone Wallet with Pocket for Credit Card, ID, Business Card

This is a popular accessory for college students and it’s rare to see a phone without the card holder. It’s handy to have their ID on their phone since they need that to get into multiple areas such as dorms and dining halls. If they don’t have their ID, they’ll be waiting around for quite some time.

If You’re Not Sure What To Get . . .

You can’t go wrong with gift cards.

Everything: Amazon / Visa

Beauty: Ulta / Sephora

Retail: Kohl’s / Nike / DSW / Hot Topic / Athleta / Forever 21

Furniture: Jo-Ann

Coffee: Starbucks

Food: Outback Steakhouse / Subway / Chili’s  / Panera / The Cheesecake Factory / Applebee’s / Olive Garden / IHOP / Ninety Nine Restaurants / Chipotle / Whole Foods

Entertainment: Fandango / AMC Theatre / Gamestop / App Store & iTunes / Netflix

Technology: Best Buy 

Travel: Southwest Airlines / Uber / Airbnb

For a list of everything you need for college, check out my post here + a freebie with it.