23 Great Gifts for College Students (2020 Guide)

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Looking for Gifts for College Students? Our Gift Guide Can Help!

If you are searching for the best gifts for college students, you’re in the right place! From top gifts for college girls to the best gifts for college boys, we’ve been there and done that!

As semi-recent university/college grads, we know a thing or two about college life. Times and tech might change – but there are still some sure-fire college gift ideas that are tried and tested and will bring a smile to the face of a college student.

So, whether you are looking for Christmas gifts for college students or you’re a student yourself looking for a gift for a college friend, browse our curated list below of awesome gifts for college students!

Do you need some gift inspiration for other people as well? Then have a look at these gift guides:

Great Gifts for College Students

In the following list, we have tried to include gift ideas in various price ranges that would actually be beneficial for a lot of college and university students.

Having been at university not too long ago ourselves, we included many of the below college gifts based on personal experience during our time as students.

Of course, every college student’s situation is different, so keep the gift receiver in mind when browsing through this gift guide. And don’t just buy blindly – remember to actually assess whether a gift would be suitable for them!

All-in-One Portable Printer

We clearly remember the days during university when we had to print or scan a document and had to walk all the way back to campus because we didn’t have a printer at home.

Nowadays, it’s quite easy to scan documents with your phone. However, having an all-in-one printer at home that can also copy and scan documents can still be a game-changer!

With this printer, you can even print from your phone. In our opinion, it’s the perfect gift for college students – especially those that don’t like to do everything on the computer.

HP OfficeJet 250 All-in-One Portable Printer with Wireless & Mobile Printing
$419.99
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11/29/2021 04:11 pm GMT

Portable Utensils Set

Especially at the beginning of college, it’s not uncommon to either have no kitchen utensils at all or only have a limited set.

With a portable set of utensils, your college student is prepared for dinner evenings at a friend’s house and can always just bring their own utensils set.

In this day and age, it’s such a better alternative than relying on cheap plastic cutlery that just gets thrown out afterward.

This set is also good if your student wants to eat in their room by making something quick. Utensils are kind of necessary if they don’t go to the caf!

Devico Portable Utensils, Travel Camping Cutlery Set, 8-Piece
$9.99
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11/29/2021 08:09 pm GMT

Spotify Subscription

Some students love to study while listening to music but the advertisements you get with some free versions of streaming services can be quite distracting.

So, why not gift your college student a Spotify subscription? If they like music, this is one of the best college student gifts that they’ll really appreciate!

Personal Finance Book

Of all the gift ideas for college students, this one can be a real game-changer. College can be a big change in many aspects of life – and bigger financial responsibility is just one of them.

Developing good money habits during college is an important aspect that can have lots of impact on the future as well.

A good first step to get someone interested in personal finance can be gifting them a personal finance book. There are actually quite a few different ones out there.

So, if you don’t think this one would interest your college students, keep in mind that there are other options out there.

The Infographic Guide to Personal Finance: A Visual Reference for Everything You Need to Know
$12.99
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11/29/2021 04:11 pm GMT

Mini Projector

College rooms can be small so having a large TV is not an option for many college students. However, fun movie nights can definitely be a possibility with a mini projector like this one.

It can connect to many different devices – and a laptop is something that most college students have nowadays anyway.

Since it’s quite small, it’s easy to take out the projector when you need it and otherwise just store it in the closet or on a shelf! Definitely among the more entertaining gifts for students!

DBPOWER L21 LCD Video Projector, Full HD Mini Movie Projector with HDMIx2/USBx2/AV Ports
$139.99
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11/29/2021 11:13 am GMT

Meditation App Subscription

College and university can be stressful at times (we’ll talk about that a few more times below).

That’s why a subscription to a meditation app can be a great way to help students reduce some of the stress.

Two popular meditation apps that you can look into are Calm and Headspace. We’ve had good experiences with both of them so we can’t really say which one is better.

Weighted Blanket

Related to the point above, some people swear by their weighted blanket when they feel stressed and/or anxious.

There are probably going to be moments at college where the student will feel one or even both of these emotions.

If you think a weigthed blanket might be something the gift receiver would appreciate, click through below. There are lots of different colors and weights that you can choose from.

YnM Weighted Blanket — Heavy 100% Oeko-Tex Certified Cotton Material with Premium Glass Beads
$69.90
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11/29/2021 08:08 pm GMT

Fitbit

Staying active during college is important because it can help keep your mind sharp as well. At the same time, we know that this is sometimes easier said than done.

Having a Fitbit or similar smartwatch can actually be a big motivator to get up and move your body for a bit.

Being able to track your speed and distance (among other things) – and then seeing your improvement over time – can be a big motivation for some people.

Fitbit Charge 4 Fitness and Activity Tracker with Built-in GPS, Heart Rate, Sleep & Swim Tracking
$111.52
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11/29/2021 04:12 pm GMT

Reusable Shopping Bags

You might laugh but reusable shopping bags can actually be a great gift for a college students.

They might go grocery shopping without a car where sturdy bags with straps come in handy. Or they might regularly bring stuff to friends’ houses.

Reusable shopping bags are even an easy way to carry your laundry to the laundry room. Lisa has done this all throughout her university life.

In general, reusable shopping bags can be a great practical and affordable gift that doesn’t take up too much room.

Reusable Shopping Bags - Grocery Box Bags (3 Pack - Chevron)
$25.99
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11/29/2021 08:06 pm GMT

Homesick Candle

Some students move away from their home town or even home state to go to college or university. Being homesick – especially in the beginning – is completely normal.

However, having small items that remind you of home such as photos of family and friends or one of these homesick candles can actually make a difference.

This candle comes for different states and regions. We think it’s a great meaningful for students who are leaving their hometown for the first time.

Homesick Scented Candle, Southern California
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Instant Pot Duo Mini

Of course, we don’t know your college student’s living situation, but there are quite a few students who don’t have access to a (full) kitchen during (some of) their college or university time.

So, good gifts for college students often revolve around food – and the Instant Pot Duo Mini is one of them! An instant pot – or a simple hot plate, mentioned below – can make a huge difference.

It makes it so easy to cook simple meals in the comfort of your own home without having to rely on takeout or cafeteria food all the time.

We love this instant pot since it is smaller than the regular size and it makes super easy and tasty one-pot dinners. There are also lots of instant pot recipes out there so your college student won’t run out of inspiration for a very long time.

Instant Pot Duo Mini 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker, Sterilizer, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Saute, Yogurt Maker, and Warmer
$69.99
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11/29/2021 11:14 am GMT

Stress Ball

There are definitely going to be some times during university or college that are more stressful than others.

A simple item such as a stress ball can actually make a difference when you’re trying to not freak out completely (speaking from personal experience here).

In our opinion, a gift like this also symbolizes that you are aware that college is not just fun and parties and that there are times that can be challenging. In some case, this “understanding” can mean more to the receiver than the actual gift.

Teach Peach Assorted Motivational Stress Balls, Fun Fidget Toys for Kids, Teenagers, and Adults
$11.99
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11/29/2021 08:08 pm GMT

Portable Steamer

We know that ironing their clothes is most likely not a priority for college students (it wasn’t for us).

However, sooner or later there is most likely going to be that need to get wrinkles out of a nice shirt before an event or interview. That’s where a portable steamer can come in super handy!

It doesn’t take up as much room as a full-on iron and some people much prefer using a steamer over an iron anyway.

We believe this is the perfect gift for the upper-year college students that are more frequently doing internships or are involved in events that require dressing up!

PERFECTDAY Garment Steamer, Portable Handheld Steamer Mini Travel Steamer for Travel and Fabric
$19.98
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11/29/2021 08:09 pm GMT

eReader

During college and university there will most likely be quite a bit of reading that is for work and not for pleasure.

That’s why it can be quite nice to put the study books away every once in a while and enjoy an easy-to-read novel.

While we still like reading actual books every once in a while, we remember all too well how little space we had in our university rooms. Having an eReader made it easy to enjoy a good book or two without them taking up a lot of physical room in our places.

Kindle Paperwhite – Now Waterproof with 2x the Storage
$129.99
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11/29/2021 11:13 am GMT

Reusable Waterbottle

We all know that it is important to drink water throughout the day to keep our minds sharp (at least we should!).

But the reality is that it can sometimes be so easy to go hours without drinking any water. In college, having a reusable water bottle with you that you actually like – especially during lectures and study sessions – can be a great reminder to sip some water regularly.

After we finally got reusable waterbottles that we actually liked, we took them with us a lot more often. As a result, we drank more water throughout the day (and still do).

Noise Canceling Headphones

Part of the time at college will be spent studying. Background noise can be quite a distraction, especially when you don’t really enjoy what you are studying (speaking from personal experience).

In cases like this, noise canceling headphones are great. They allow you to block out more noise and make it easy to listen to relaxing study music or other music that helps you stay focused!

Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, Noise-Cancelling
$195.99
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11/29/2021 03:22 pm GMT

Smart Pen

Have a college student who likes taking handwritten notes or has to make a lot of graphs? While it is definitely possible to do graphs and tables directly on the computer, sometimes it is just easier to jot down these notes by hand.

Using a smart pen is a great way to then transfer these notes onto your smartphone and then use or store them digitally.

We would have loved having a pen like this one during our college time since it would have made taking notes quite a bit easier at times.

NEO SMARTPEN N2 Bluetooth Digital Pen
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Eye Mask

Gifts for college kids don’t have to be super fancy to be loved. They can be simple and practical like an eye mask!

Some people have trouble falling asleep unless it is completely dark in the room. Any little bit of light can already make it difficult for them to sleep.

For college students who live with a roommate, this might be a big transition. An eye mask can help to get the darkness they need for sleeping even if the roommate is doing something else in the room.

MZOO Sleep Eye Mask for Men Women, 3D Contoured Cup Sleeping Mask & Blindfold, Concave Molded Night Sleep Mask
$14.99
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11/29/2021 04:11 pm GMT

Portable White Noise Machine

We know what you might think. “Why did you put a product for babies in this gift guide?” But hear us out.

If your college student lives in a dorm or a large house with many other housemates, it can get quite noisy at times. This can make falling asleep difficult – especially for people who are light sleepers anyway.

A portable white noise machine can be a great little gadget that can block out the other noises in the house and provide a calming, white noise that can help some people fall asleep better.

Marpac Hushh Portable White Noise Machine
$25.99
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11/29/2021 03:22 pm GMT

Long Charging Cable

We all rely on our phones so much nowadays – and college students are no different.

From coordinating with classmates and friends to checking the class schedule on the go, having a charged phone is quite important.

Having an extra long charging cord makes it easier to use plugs that you wouldn’t have been able to use otherwise. Plus, being able to use the phone while it is charging is also a huge plus (speaking from personal experience).

AmazonBasics Double Braided Nylon Lightning to USB Cable, 6 Foot
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Recipe Book

College or university can mean a big transition for many young adults… and being responsible for making their own meals is just one of the aspects.

This college cookbook full of simple and healthy meals will provide your college student with lots of great recipe inspiration.

It can be a great gift even for young adults who have already been at college for a while. Some new, easy-to-make recipes are something we can all use every now and then.

The 5-Ingredient College Cookbook: Easy, Healthy Recipes for the Next Four Years & Beyond
$7.57
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11/29/2021 11:13 am GMT

Hot Plate

Depending on where the college student lives, they might not have a full kitchen available to them.

Similar to an instant pot, a simple hot plate can make a huge difference when it comes to preparing meal at home and not having to rely on takeout or cafeteria food (all the time).

We like this single hot plate since it has a small footprint, making it easy to store and use even in a smaller room.

Elite Gourmet Countertop Electric Hot Burner, Temperature Controls, Power Indicator Lights, Easy to Clean, Single, Black
$19.99
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11/29/2021 04:12 pm GMT

Weekender Bag

And last, but not least, we have one of the most classic gifts for college students – a weekender or duffel bag!

During our time at university, we much preferred bags over suitcases since they take up less room and are easier to store than suitcases.

If your college students lives in a smaller space and doesn’t currently have a great “going home bag”, then this might be the perfect gift for them!

S-ZONE Oversized Leather Canvas Duffel Shoulder Weekender Mens Overnight Bag
$66.99
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11/29/2021 08:07 pm GMT

Things to Consider When Buying Gifts for College Students

Before you buy a gift for the college student(s) in your life, there are a few things that you should think about.

Obviously you should think about the gift receiver’s personality, their interests, and their likes and dislikes in general terms.

However, there are a few other considerations that you should take into account. We talk about some of the most important ones in no particular order below.

Living Situation

First of all, you should think about the living arrangements of the college student. Do they share a dorm room with another student and don’t have access to a kitchen? Then maybe an eye mask or an Instant Pot might be a good idea.

Do they live in a larger house with other housemates but have their own room? Then maybe consider getting them a white noise machine.

Generally, think about whether they live with other people in the same room, in the same house, or on their own and if they have access to a kitchen or not. Also take into consideration how much space they have available in their room/house.

These things can really impact which type of gift is suitable for the college student. Getting someone who lives in a small space a huge gift is probably not the best idea (unless it’s a furniture item that they actually need).

Quality

Of course the quality of a product is something you should consider when buying a gift.

Most students are at college and university for a few years, so having items that are durable and last for years is important.

While quality is of course important for all types of gifts, it’s especially important for electronic items. You probably don’t want to gift something that only lasts for a few weeks or months before it stops working.

That’s why we always recommend reading the whole description and the reviews of a product – especially if you order something online.

Price

Last – but not least – the price of a product will also play a role when deciding which gift to buy.

Remember to set a realistic budget for yourself and then stick to it – nobody would want you to get into financial trouble for a gift!

And there you have it – some of the best gifts for college students out there! In the end, there are lots of great and useful college student gift ideas.

Just remember to keep your receiver, their living situation, and your budget in mind and there’ll be a good chance you choose a gift that works for them!

As always, Stay Curious,
-B&L

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