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Best Gifts for College Students

Updated on July 25, 2017

Shopping for College Students

College students can be really tricky to buy for. They're away from home, so they don't always have much space, but they still want the comforts of home. It's a stressful time, especially if they're far away from home. There were some key items that helped me and my friends make it through school.

If you're shopping for a college student, here are some great gift ideas to reduce their stress level and help them make it through the semester. Some are useful and practical while others are fun or even a little silly. Whichever you're looking for, you'll find something here.

Image by Blair Snow used under Creative Commons Licence

1001 Things Every College Student Needs to Know: Like Buying Your Books Before Exams Start
1001 Things Every College Student Needs to Know: Like Buying Your Books Before Exams Start

Everyone is nervous when they first start college or university. Between classes, money, and roommates, there can be a lot to worry about. This book will help you navigate and survive your first year of college.


Kitchen Gifts for College Students

Whether you're living in a dorm, house, or apartment, there's certain kitchen items that always come in handy for college students. I know these were life savers for me when I was in school. The mini bar fridge is especially fantastic. If you're in a dorm, a fridge lets you keep a few items in your room for when the dining hall is closed or you just don't feel like making the trip. It's also great for an apartment or house if you have roommates: one fridge just never seems to be enough space. If you're looking for a practical and great gift for a college student, try one of these kitchen items.

Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker with Thermal Carafe Option, Chrome
Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker with Thermal Carafe Option, Chrome

A coffee maker is a must for studying. This larger coffee maker is great for roommates since you can make enough for everyone at once. If you're by yourself, you can always make extra and warm it up the next day to save time.

Hamilton Beach K6080 Large Cordless Kettle, 1.8-Liter, Black
Hamilton Beach K6080 Large Cordless Kettle, 1.8-Liter, Black

A kettle is great for tea when you're all coffeed out. A relaxing cup of tea is nice before bed. Also, some dorm rooms won't allow coffee machines, but most allow kettles. They're also good for hot chocolate or instant soup or oatmeal.

SPT 2.5 cu.ft Compact Refrigerator Stainless Door with Black Sides
SPT 2.5 cu.ft Compact Refrigerator Stainless Door with Black Sides

A mini fridge is a must. You don't always want to go to the cafeteria and sometimes you have leftovers from a reasaurant or pizza. They're also great in a house or apartment if you have roommates and need some extra fridge space.


Cookbooks Make Great Gifts for College Students

It's your turn to cook and you have no time and no idea what to make. You're busy studying and making dinner is the last thing you want to bother doing, but your roommate made dinner last night, so you have no choice.

Does this sound familiar? Either you've been there yourself or you know a college student who has. If you're in a dorm, cooking usually isn't an issue, but as soon as you move out, it becomes a necessary survival skill.

A lot of college students think they can get away with ordering pizza or living off cereal and Kraft Dinner, but these options don't work long term. Take out costs too much money and I know from experience that if you don't get enough nutrition, you'll just spend the year battling a constant cold.

These cookbooks are full of tons of easy, fast recipes for college students who don't want to cook or don't know how cook. They make a great gift for the starving college student.


So many college assignments are done on the computer that they have become a necessity. Chances are, the college student you're shopping for already has a computer, but its important that its speedy and up to date. There's nothing worse than losing an assignment if your computer crashes, and it's frustrating trying to do research on a computer when it takes forever for the pages to load. An up to date, fast laptop is a perfect present for any college student.

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A Television for the Dorm Room

TV is a must entertainment for college and university students. Sometimes there is a communal TV or a roommate or floor mate has one, but it's always nice to have your own. If you're shopping for a college student and they don't have a TV yet, it would make a perfect Christmas gift.

Proscan PLEDV2491A 24-Inch 720p 60Hz LED TV
Proscan PLEDV2491A 24-Inch 720p 60Hz LED TV

This TV is ideal for a college dorm room or apartment. It's small and thin, so doesn't take up much space, and with a built in DVD player, it's even more compact. It's the perfect Christmas gift.


Comedy Movies and TV Shows

Everyone knows laughter is the best medicine. Laughter stimulates the brain and releases endorphins, making us happy. Of course, laughter doesn't solve problems, but comedy movies are a great idea for college students looking for a break. Settle in on a Friday night, order pizza, make popcorn, and watch your favorite comedies. Movies are also a great way to socialize and relax without breaking a tight college budget.

My personal favorite here is The Big Bang Theory collection. It's one of my favorite shows and owning the series ensures endless laughter. It's a great gift for college students (as long as they don't spend all their time watching it...).

Stress Balls - They make great stocking stuffers

Let's face it--college is stressful. Between classes, assignments, exams, and socializing, there's always something going on. Everyone has a different way of dealing with stress, but one classic favorite is the stress ball. They're small and transportable and great for squishing, squashing, or throwing against a wall. If you know a college student who needs a bit of help releasing that extra stress, try some stress balls for a Christmas gift.

Mini Neon Smile Face Relaxable Balls (1 Dz) Assorted
Mini Neon Smile Face Relaxable Balls (1 Dz) Assorted colors

These colorful stress balls double as a stress release and a fun decoration. They'll make anyone happy!


Idea for Reducing Stress

Since so many college students are stressed, here's a few ideas of how to relax.

  1. Mediate: Try either mediation or yoga. They're both great for detoxing and just coming back to yourself.
  2. Exercise: Whether it's going to the gym or just for a walk around the block, moving can help calm your mind and body.
  3. Study with a friend: Sometimes company through studying can keep us calm and help us remember that we're not alone.
  4. Laugh: Laughing releases endorphins and reduces stress. Find a friend and share some funny stories. Or, you can watch your favorite sitcom for funny movie as a good study break or end of the night relaxer. If you're crunched for time, spend 5 minutes to find some funny jokes online, then get back to work.

Gift cards make great presents for college students. Gift cards to grocery stores or gas stations are ideal for students who are paying part or all of their way through school. Restaurants are great, too, so they can have a break and relax.

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      Open 3 years ago

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      sousababy 4 years ago

      Learning to cook simple, healthy meals will save students money - and be much better for their health.