19 Gift Ideas For College Students That Are The Perfect Balance Of Practical & Fun
by Katie Mitchell

The gift-receiving aspect of the holiday season is definitely more important to kids than adults, but that doesn’t mean newly-minted adults should be left off this year’s gift list. College students work hard most of the semester (aside from a few missed assignments here and there). And making it to the holiday 2017 season means they've finished all their final exams and are another semester closer to graduation — and doesn't your favorite college student deserve a gift about it?

As you get older, gifts become more and more practical. And there’s nothing wrong with that. 1,000 thread count queen-size bed sheets? Yes, please. But practical doesn’t have to mean boring and basic. Practical gifts make life easier for the recipient, and the best gifts also reflect the recipient’s unique needs and personality. The gift ideas in this guide will show the college student in your life that you see them working hard to get that degree and even though it’s not easy, you know they can do it.

Isn’t that the boost everyone needs while pursuing their undergraduate degree? Ahead, you’ll find gifts for college students that will cement your cool sister/aunt/mentor status. And if you find more than one gift that is perfect for someone you know, consider sending it in a care package throughout the year. Speaking from past experience, college students love care packages.



Write On Pen Set, $10, Knock Knock

This pen set will make those long nights in the library slightly more bearable. The pens come in four fun colors and have writing puns on them. Every college student likes a good pun.


Dorm Decorations

Keep Ya Head Up, $40, Rayo and Honey

This pennant will encourage anyone who looks at it they can accomplish their goals — and it'll go great in a dorm room.


Journaling Class

Rawness of Remembering, $147, Esmé Weijun Wang‏

Journaling is a great way to relax and articulate feelings without having to say them out loud. Author Esmé Weijun Wang‏ created a self-paced online course about restorative journaling through difficult times that'll make a great gift for a college student who needs a break. (Just make sure they like writing, first.)


Throw Pillow

Cardi Yellow Pillow, $60, Eyepissglitter

If you know a college student who loves Cardi B, this pillow will be the perfect addition to their space.


Tote Bag

Tote Bag, $20, Vashti Harris

Sometimes carrying a big backpack across campus in unnecessary and cumbersome. This cute tote bag is great for carrying a few notebooks and pens.


Candy And Baked Goods

Christmas Holiday Box, $20, The Paper Sack

College students love getting sweet treats in the mail. Surprise the scholar in your life with peppermint bark, truffles, and more.


Self-Care Tools

Self-care Mystery Box, $15, Bloom Beautifully

College can be extremely stressful. Self-care is important. Send this self-care mystery box to help a college student relax.



Believe Women Tee, $25, America Hates Us

Unfortunately, sexual assault is a huge problem on campuses. This t-shirt is a simple, powerful statement.


Laptop Sticker

Sticker, $4, Vashti Harris

The laptop sticker will remind the recipient how talented they truly are.


A Well-Written Résumé

Entry Level Résumé, $75, The Write Touch

College is great, but it doesn’t last forever. Eventually all that newly acquired knowledge will be used at a job. Help an undergraduate get a jump on the job hunt with a professionally-written résumé.


Skin Consultation

Basic Skin Consultation, $65, The Golden RX

With college comes increased stress, less sleep, and sometimes skin issues. This skin consultation will give advice on how to fix a variety of skin problems.


Workout Gear

Lime Green High Waist Compression Shorts, $15, pxfitnessgear

Most colleges have a gym available for students. If the person you know likes to workout, these compression shorts will be a great addition to their fitness wardrobe.


Public Speaking Tips

Virtual Career Boot Camp: Public Speaking, $15, The Memo

Do you remember the first college presentation you ever gave? You were probably just a little intimidated, and chances are good your favorite college student might be, too. This virtual boot camp teaches the basics of becoming a more effective public speaker.



Visionary Journal, $35, Keep Chasing the Stars

This journal will help the college student in your life transform their goals into actionable items.



Debt Class of 2004Ever Blue Crewneck, $42, The 1 Sellers Group

Student loan debt reached a whooping $1.3 trillion this year. The crew neck sweatshirt is for any college student with a wry sense of humor.


Words Of Affirmation

Magical Black Girl Affirmation Cards, $13, The Conscious Queen

Affirmations can work wonders when you’re feeling down. Gift someone with this deck of affirmation cards.


Phone Case

Busy Signal, $7, Case Nirvana

College students can do entire assignments from their phone these days. Make sure they’re being productive in style with this phone case from Case Nirvana.



Get a Lucky Bundle Package, $45, Lucky Skivvies

You can never have enough pairs of underwear. These gender-neutral boxer briefs are equal parts practical and cute.


Thermos Bottle

S'well Stainless Steel Water Bottle, $15, Sam’s Club

College students are always on the go or spending hours at the library. This bottle keeps beverages hot for up to 12 hours, or cold and carbonated for up to 24 hours.

Gifts for college students can be both fun and practical. Whatever you get the young scholar in your life, they'll be sure to appreciate it at the very least because it's one less thing they have to pay for.