Gift ideas for students heading off to college

Gift ideas for students heading off to college | JLV College Counseling Blog

Graduation season is upon us and it is a time for celebration. For the students heading off to college in the fall, there may be quite a few things they will need when they go away to college. Here are some items to consider getting for students heading off to college in the fall.

  • Cash. Everyone can use money, and for the college bound student, they may have more expenses than they expect. Having a little extra cash can help students pay their college bill, buy books, or pay for pizza when they get a little tired of dorm food.
  • Bookstore gift card. College bookstores are fun to shop at, especially for new students, because they can pick up anything with the college logo. In addition, some colleges allow students to use gift cards to purchase their books. Check with the college the student will be attending in the fall to purchase a gift card and learn about the terms of use.
  • Gas cards/gift cards for car maintenance. Car payments and insurance are expenses with specific amounts students either already have budgeted, or may be paid for by their parents. However, gas and car maintenance are also needed. Research the area around the college to ensure there are locations for the gift card you will purchase.
  • Noise-canceling headphones. There are a lot of distractions in college, even in the library. Noise-cancelling headphones* might help the student stay focused wherever they are studying. Before purchasing, find out what type of device the student typically uses (Apple or Android).
  • Dorm necessities. Making a dorm room a home may take a little work. Students will need to do a little decorating of their own to make their dorm room feel like home. In addition, there are many things they are currently taking for granted now that they don’t even realize they may need once the go to college. Below are things to consider. However, keep in mind when shopping that dorms are typically small and do not have a lot of extra space.
    •  XL Twin Sheets*. Regular twin sheets will not fit the typical dorm mattress.
    • Mattress Topper. Dorm mattresses are not always the most comfortable things to sleep on. But, a mattress topper* could add some comforted for the much needed rest the future college student may need.
    • Fun decorations to show personality. Personalized throw pillows are fun to show a little extra personality, plus they don’t take up much space. The student may also like framed artwork or photos of family and friends. You know the student – think about the things they may like in their new home.
    • Shower Tote/Caddy. Students may have to walk a little bit to get to the restroom. A lightweight shower tote* that can hold everything the student needs would be very helpful. And, as an added bonus, it might be fun to fill it with the things the student will need, such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, towels, hand towels, and washcloths*.
    • Shower shoes. While living at home, you never have to think about wearing shoes while taking a shower. However, in college, it is important to wear something on your feet while showering to avoid getting any infections. Luckily, they have comfortable (and cute) shower shoes for both men* and women*.
    • Pop-up laundry hamper. Again, students will have to leave their dorm room to wash their laundry. A pop-up laundry hamper* is perfect for dorm rooms. They are flexible, can fit in tight spaces, and are portable. It might also to be fun to fill the bag with laundry essentials, such as detergent, fabric softeners, and dryer sheets. In addition, research the laundry facilities at the student’s college and how students will pay for laundry. Some laundry rooms still require quarters (a role of quarters would be very helpful) and others have laundry cards that can be purchased.
    • Reusable bottles. Disposable plastic water bottles can take up a lot of space. However, having a few reusable bottles* can be a big space and money saver and will keep the student hydrated. Students can typically fill these up in the cafeteria, and many colleges are installing “hydration” stations around campus.
    • Healthcare products. Unfortunately, college students get sick or hurt too, but many do not remember to bring items to help them get better. A small first aid kit* and medication for pain relief and colds could be helpful to the college students who is sick and away from home for the first time.
    • Tools. Who knows when and where a student will need tools, but they may need a screwdriver or hammer for something while they are away. A small tool set* with everything they need could be helpful.
  • Gift cards. There may be items the student will forget to purchase and will only realize they need it once they are at college. Having a gift card for a local or online store could be helpful to purchase the last minute items they need (or want).

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Special Note: *This post includes affiliate links. These links are affiliate links through Amazon. You will not pay extra; however, I do receive a small reimbursement if you purchase through the links. Thank you for your support of JLV College Counseling. JLV College Counseling/Jessica Velasco is a participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program design to provide a means for site to earn advertising fees by advertising and link to


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