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10 Great Graduation Gift Ideas for That Special Graduate

Updated on February 20, 2018
Sam Montana profile image

Sam has been a writer for 10 years and a researcher about health and other interests. Other interests include history, gardening and science


Graduation is a special time and trying to find the right graduation gift is not always easy. There are times when you just cannot think of the right gift and the harder you think, the less comes to mind. A graduation gift can be something useful or it can be both useful and memorable. Here are some great graduation gift ideas.

Journals and Diaries

Graduation is a time for reflecting back on the accomplishments and looking forward to college or work. A journal can be a great gift for a high school or college graduate. They can write about their daily activities and thoughts as they start their new life and get out into the world and a gift they will be able to keep forever and look back on.

Journaling is a way to think through new ideas and write out current plans. Journals are a helpful way to look back at those choices after graduation and keep track of where they have been. Writing daily events and daily thoughts in a journal can help the new graduate stay focused on their goals and avoid any mistakes they make.

A personalized or monogrammed leather bound journal is a great graduation gift that is both useful and memorable.

Grad to Great: Discover the Secrets to Success in Your First Career

Books can be great gifts for graduates, and good books are something the new graduate might keep for the rest of their lives. As graduates embark into the real world and look for a career, this book is a keeper.

The book Grad to Great: Discover the Secrets to Success in Your First Career written by Anne Brown is a highly rated and no-nonsense guide on how to have a successful career after graduation. The book is available in paperback or Kindle and would go great with the Kindle as a graduation gift.

Even if that new graduate has a job that they like, this book has great tips for keeping a current job and moving up the ladder. In today’s highly competitive job market, this book will be a great help to any graduate.

Golf Lessons

Depending on what career choice a new graduate is interested in, golf can be the perfect way to get out and meet new people. And meeting new people in a chosen field is a great way to land a new job or meet new clients. Golf might not be the perfect graduation gift for everyone, but for some, it could be just the right gift.

If they have chosen any type of field that requires meeting new people, like sales, legal, sports related or public relations, then golf lessons could be just the right graduation gift. I imagine we have all heard of people finding that great new job or new clients just by playing a round of golf. Many deals have also been accomplished on a golf course.

You can go to a local golf course and inquire about their golf lesson fees or ask at a local sporting good store. Private golf courses would usually be more expensive than a city owned golf courses. Most golf lessons start at around $60 for a 30 minute lesson and are usually taught by a PGA or LPGA professional.

Planning Ahead

The graduate might not even be thinking so far ahead as starting a portfolio of stocks and bonds or retirement. But learning about the best and safest ways to invest can really help the new graduate. Properly investing can help when the time comes to buy their first home and throughout their lives.

A book about investing might sound dull and dry, but how many of us wish today that we had been given good and simple advice about saving and investing money when we were just graduating. This book provides great advice and motivation showing just how easy it is to accumulate a great deal of money over the years.

Many graduates today do not really believe there will be Social Security when they get older and many companies do not even offer a retirement plan. Investing and getting rich is not about getting lucky and takes time and patience.

Dividend stocks can add a healthy amount of money to someone’s portfolio just by being patient over the years. For example, if a graduate in 1980 had invested $1,000 in Johnson & Johnson, and reinvested the dividends, that one stock would be worth $100,040 today. And there are many stocks that are even more impressive than JNJ. Looking back, I wish I knew this when I first graduated.

One of my favorite dividend books is All About Dividend Investing. It explains how to find the right stocks to invest in and is full of great stories that should impress anyone just starting out on their own.

Dress for Success Gift Cards

I know gift cards are not the greatest gift to give, but buying clothes is not easy. If your graduation gift is for someone graduating college, they might need new clothes for those job interviews. One of the main complaints today from employers is that job applicants are showing up in jeans and sweatshirts. And dressing like that is not the way to get hired at most companies.

New shoes, a suit or a new dress can cost quite a bit of money that a graduate might not feel like spending or cannot afford. A gift certificate from a men's clothing store or women's dress shop could be the perfect gift for many graduates.

You can buy gift cards at stores like K&G Fashion, Lord & Taylor, Nordstrom and Men's Wearhouse.

Think Like a Freak

Another great book for those just starting out on their own is Think Like a Freak by the authors that wrote Freakonomics. Unlike their first book, that explained to us how the world really works, this book shows how to get along better in this world.

This book contains plenty of real life stories and observations to get their points across and will get those that read the book thinking and rethinking how they do certain tasks in life and to do them better.

This is not necessarily a self-help book, but more of a book for those that are truly interested in just how the real world works. A well-written that any graduate will enjoy and learn from.


Whether the recent graduate is going off to college or to start a new career, a briefcase comes in very handy. It might seem that we are supposedly living in a paperless world with everything on our computers and smart phones; a briefcase is still needed for college or at work.

A briefcase will make a person look sharp while going to job interviews or the new job. It is a useful gift that should last many years. Instead of a briefcase, a shoulder bag is also a great gift.

Kindle Fire

With most students owning a computer, laptop and iPhone these days, they might not have had any money left over to buy an E-reader or Kindle. An E-reader like a Kindle could come in very handy for those heading off to college with textbooks becoming available and affordable for a Kindle. College graduates could use a Kindle for studying up on job interview skills or just reading a good book once in a while.

There are several models of the Kindle ranging in price from $69 to over $300 depending on the size of the screen, memory and other features.


Being on time is always important, and even more important for college classes or the new job, and a watch makes a very nice graduation gift. Being late is one of those things that really aggravate college professors and bosses. A watch makes a nice graduation gift because they are useful and can be memorable, and watches are affordable for any budget and you can find watches that look good with casual clothes or a new suit.


A laptop is one of the most frequently asked for graduation gift. A laptop doesn’t have to cost a fortune as there are many budget laptops that come with plenty of memory.

This Asus laptop is one of the highest rated laptops on Amazon. This laptop will do everything that a graduate would need in a computer. Whether a high school graduate or a college graduate, this is a great laptop with enough memory it should last that special graduate for years to come.


I know how hard it can be to find gifts, and I hope this article gave you some great graduation gift ideas. Most of these gifts are not overly expensive and they are all useful and memorable gifts for that special graduate.

Sending a gift to someone that has just graduated is a great way to show how proud you are of their accomplishments.

The above ideas are meant to take the new graduate to the next level. It is not always easy to go from graduation to the real world, but the above ideas can help the new graduate move on without the fear of leaving college.

© 2015 Sam Montana


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    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Some wonderful graduation gift ideas. Thanks.

    • Sam Montana profile image

      Sam Montana 3 years ago

      Thank you. I also agree that teaching investing is great at a young age. With dividend stocks, a young person can invest just a little bit out of each paycheck and it will grow nicely. The key is patience when it comes to dividend stocks and not always look for the get rich quick stocks. I look at is the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats list of stocks and see which ones are still raising dividends each year. I noticed last year that a few stocks were dropped from the list. Another good tool for your daughter to use is a stock market game like Wall Street Survivors on the internet, where she can invest in several mock portfolios.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      I particularly love your recommendations regarding dividend investments and Think Like a Freak/Freakonomics (great series of books that I've just finished recently). I wholeheartedly recommend Bluechip dividend-paying stocks. I'm already teaching my teenager about them whether she wants to know or not.

    • Sam Montana profile image

      Sam Montana 3 years ago

      Thank you. A laptop today is almost an indispensable tool for graduates.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      These are great suggestions. I know most teens would love to have a laptop and they are wonderful tools for college.