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The 12 Best Gifts for a Graduate Student

Updated on June 7, 2015
Best gifts for a graduate student. Reward the hard-working grad student in your life.
Best gifts for a graduate student. Reward the hard-working grad student in your life.

The best gifts for graduate students are usually borne out of necessity, and occasionally for fun and enjoyment. But grad students always need something. I should know, as I am one myself.

This hub will help you with a list of the best gifts to give them. Maybe the grad student is your son or daughter, niece or nephew, or even a friend. These gifts will work whether you are giving it to the student for a birthday, because you are just visiting them, or because it is the beginning of their semester. These are presents both male and female students will be thankful to receive.

How much you spend on the gift is up to you. There are both cheap and more expensive gift options listed.

Best Gifts for a Graduate Student: Airline Fare
Best Gifts for a Graduate Student: Airline Fare

1. Airline or Amtrak Tickets

If the student will be flying home or making a round-trip flight, the cost of their passage could easily be $500 or more, depending upon the destination, the cost of airplane fuel, the whims of the airline, etc.

Likewise if the grad student takes Amtrak to and from university, the price can also add up to over $200. It can be quite difficult for a grad student to come up with hundreds of dollars, so if you can arrange for their flight or passage and pay for it, you will be taking a great strain off of their minds.

2. Coffee Maker

A lot of graduate students suffer from a lack of sleep from all the studying and work they have to do. To compensate, a lot of them drink coffee in the morning to get them going. But the problem is a lot of them will spend money each day at a coffee shop because they couldn't afford the cost of a good a coffee maker in one shot.

You can help them get their daily dose of java to keep up with their studies with a solidly built coffee maker that can withstand frequent use, and is also convenient to use. You will save them perhaps over $100 a month with this gift.

Public Transportation Passes
Public Transportation Passes

3. Parking or Public Transportation Passes

Students who attend university in bustling cities or towns will tell you that parking comes at a premium, or that public transport even feels expensive on their budget. If you can take parking, bus, or train costs out of the equation for a while, it will be a thoughtful and useful gift.

4. Food Gift Box

Graduate students are often frequently on-the-go. Between trips to the library, office time for consulting undergraduates, going to part-time jobs, classes, and heading home, sometimes it is hard to find time to get a bite to eat.

A big snack box full of healthy treats like nuts, dried fruit, granola bars, and popcorn will keep your gift recipient from being a starving student.

This is a great gift for med school students who have to stay up at all hours studying.

5. Contribution towards Tuition and Fees

This gift might be reserved for those who are very close to the student. Many graduate student financial aid packages do not include fellowships or assistantships, and there is frequently a tuition balance remaining.

In this case, arrange for a payment to be made to the university on the student's account. Even if the payment is $50, you are reducing the debt load of someone who is dear to you, and that is a wonderful gift.

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6. Microsoft Office Software

If your student has a laptop or desktop computer, chances are they will need to use MS Word, Excel or PowerPoint during their semesters. Most computers these days do not come equipped with MS Office software, or if they do, it is only a 30-trial.

When you get this software package for them you are helping the student two-fold: in addition to being useful in school, most corporate office jobs require proficiency in MS Word, and occasionally in MS Excel. As they work on this software they will become so used to it that they will be ready to face the job world with MS Office proficiency.

This is a good gift for an English major or Liberal Arts major who has to write a lot on MS Word, or an Accounting major who needs to use Excel.

7. Clothing Store Gift Card

This gift will allow the grad student to buy jeans, tops, dresses, or whatever he or she needs at the moment. Actual clothing gifts don't always work out for the recipient, but gift cards allow them to make their own choices at the store.

8. Tablet

A tablet is a great gift for a grad student because it acts more like a cross between a computer and a smartphone. It allows for both work and fun.

The ease of touch-screen capabilities on smartphones makes looking up things on-the-go very easy. Tablets also have cameras and embedded GPS. Their light weight also ensures a tablet won't weigh down a backpack full of books. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 is a popular model, versatile in its uses for schoolwork and entertainment, and highly reviewed for customer satisfaction.

Anyone who is a Chemistry, Information Technology, or Computer Science major would appreciate this gift. People in these majors tend to keep up on the latest gadgets.

9. School Book Store Gift Card

If the student will be needing text books or paper supplies, then this gift might serve them all semester. Books, copy services, writing pads, specialty software, pens and pencils all add up. Give your student the convenience of not having to dig deep into their pockets to get their necessities.

10. Desk and chair

This will be especially appreciated by students who live in an apartment where they do not already have their desk. Sitting on a futon to do homework can mess with a person's posture. And sitting at a dining table does not help for studying if they have talkative roommates sharing the common space.

A proper desk and chair in a bedroom to lay a computer, books, pens, and their midnight snack on will help ensure good grades are attained and back problems are prevented.

This is a good gift for Math or Physics majors who have to sit down for long periods of time to study.

11. Bicycle

Grad students who want to get to campus or work as cheaply as possible, or even get some much-needed exercise will appreciate this gift.

Make sure that the student actually knows how to ride a bike and would indeed use it. Otherwise, storing the bike will be a chore for them.

12. Book on Business Etiquette Prep

If there is one thing many university students do not have these days is adequate social preparation for the real world. An emphasis on manners has been missing in American societal upbringing for many generations. The one place proper etiquette is do or die, however, is in corporate America,

If a new grad does not know to stand up to shake the hand of a job interviewer, does not know that cursing is in poor taste in the office, or that helping one's boss is tantamount to success, he or she is ill-equipped for corporate success. Prepare the grad student for future career success with The Essentials of Business Etiquette.

This is an excellent gift especially for MBA or or Finance majors who will need to interface in the corporate world a lot.

© 2012 Life and Luxury

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