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The Best Gifts For Your Soon-to-be College Student

Updated on June 27, 2014

He's leaving the nest

Eyes misty, you watch your son walk up to the podium to receive his diploma. How the years have flown – from baby, to toddler, to teen and now a soon-to-be college student. Your baby will be leaving the nest. Well, you console yourself, it had to happen sooner or later. So, to show him how much you care, you go out and get him all the nice expensive things you have been saving for – the watch, the iphone, ipad, TV, maybe even a car. These are all great gifts, but the little necessities are the ones we often overlook, and can go a long way to making his transition to college life easier.

Start with food

Gift cards have become a very popular gift item these days, so why not give him a grocery store card that he can use where his college is located? If you can’t find one, a Visa card will do. Along with that, you may want to get him a small microwave so he can heat up his food. Most teenagers love to snack while they are studying, and yours may be no different. You can get him a subscription of the month for any type of snack from nuts, popcorn or candy that meets his fancy. These usually last for three months

And don’t forget the coffee pot. Long nights of studying will call for lots of coffee.


Emergency kit

Accidents happen when we least expect them. Colds, bruises, cuts are as much a part of college life as they are at home, therefore your son should have a good supply of cold tablets, Neosporin, bandages and the like. You can get him an emergency kit that contains a wide range of first aid items. This will save him money and a trip to the pharmacy.


Speaking of emergencies, if you have ever lived in a place where sudden storms cause power outages, you know how important it is to have a lantern, flashlight and batteries. One of the best ways you can help your college student prepare for this type of emergency is to give him a lantern, preferably the type that you crank by hand so he doesn’t have to think about batteries.


Expensive or practical - which is best?

Do you have a son or daughter in college? What kinds of gifts did you get him or her?

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Make use of little space

This one is a must for every college student. Dorm rooms are small and cramped. Your son may sit on his bed to study most of the time. A lapdesk that serves as a desk, not just for his laptop, but as a small table for writing, reading, or even eating in front of the television will be the ideal gift. Get him one that has an integrated LED light so he can study or read without disturbing his roommate while he is sleeping.

Help him get organized

College life can be hectic. When the pressure builds up, your student may not have time to keep things in one place. If he has a roommate, this may become even more of a problem. There are organizers for everything from clothes, shoes, dishes, books and other little items. Choose the one that occupies the least space and best meets his needs.

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Let’s Talk laundry

Whether your teen likes it or not, he’s going to have to do his own laundry while he is in college. Instead of having to use a garbage bag, why not give him a large, personalized laundry bag? This will not only help him identify his clothing, but is another way of showing him you care. You can go a step further and fill the bag with detergent, fabric softeners and quarters.

Homemade party ideas

Looking for decorating ideas for the graduation party? Make it come alive with these lovely and inexpensive decorations from the video below.

A touch of nostalgia

Despite his excitement at going away to college, the time will come when your son will experience a touch of homesickness. This is the time when a personalized calendar will come in handy. He can look at it and reminisce on special occasions spent with his friends and family. And you never know; you just may get that unexpected phone call, saying, “Hi, mom," or, "Hi, dad, I was just thinking about you.”

Some last words

Throughout this article, I have used the word “son”, but the gifts and ideas given here will work for your son as well as for your daughter. The important thing to keep in mind is his comfort and his likes. You know your child, and I am sure you will be able to come up with some heartwarming gifts that he or she will love.


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    • quildon profile imageAUTHOR

      Angela Joseph 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Thank you, yourhealthmatters. I'm glad you saw some ideas you can use for your college student.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Great, practical ideas, Quildon. Thanks for publishing this hub, got some great ideas!

    • quildon profile imageAUTHOR

      Angela Joseph 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Thank you so much, Mona! I wish they'd yell it too.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      4 years ago from Philippines

      This is the greatest list of gifts, ever. The emergency kit is s stroke of genius. Kids will rarely carry their meds but if it's in a kit that is stuck in a back, they'll stack it somewhere in their new home. The organizers are great. Kids will realize how much they need them when they're away. Our kids are growing up and leaving home, but the reality is, they still need us. When we prepare stuff like this for them and they use it, they love us for it. And secretly, they are saying, Mom was right. Wish they'd yell it, though.

    • quildon profile imageAUTHOR

      Angela Joseph 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Hi Jo, no sexism here. It's hers and hers all the way. Thanks for stopping by.

      Hi Janellegems, I agree. Most college students have a difficult time keeping things together. We can help them get organized with the right gifts. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Janellegems profile image


      4 years ago from United States

      All Great gift ideas. Organizers for everything is definitely a must for college students. Thanks for this.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 

      4 years ago from Lincolnshire, U.K

      Great ideas!! I was just about to cry sexism but you saw me coming. :) This is a very useful hub, well done.

    • quildon profile imageAUTHOR

      Angela Joseph 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Thanks, torrilyn! The emergency kit, especially, is one that can be easily overlooked.

    • torrilynn profile image


      4 years ago

      I liked your overall gifts that you listed. my favorites were the emergency kits and the gift card. nice hub overall.


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