55+ Graduation Gift Ideas College Students Will Actually Use

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This post is all about graduation gift ideas.

graduation gift ideas

Graduation is such a special time in a student's life. So you want to have graduation gift ideas that are equally as special as they are useful!

When I graduated, I was always excited to get gift cards and money. But when my friends and family took time to pick out a gift they knew I would love, it was so much more special.

I'm showing you a mix of trendy and traditional gift ideas that the graduate is guaranteed to love.

 This post is all about the best graduation gift ideas.

Best DIY Graduation Gift Ideas:

1. Motivational Quote on Basswood Plaque

high school graduation gift ideas

Isn't this so cute?!

Having a special plaque like this with the graduates favorite quote is a special gift that they can use to decorate in their dorm room or future apartment.

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2. DIY State Canvas

diy graduation gift ideas

Having a little reminder of home is one of the best gifts for a graduation but having it made by someone they love is even more special.

This is a really unique DIY grad gift idea that you can do even on a budget.

3. Inspirational Quote on Globe DIY

diy grad gifts

Source @ No Biggie

How amazing is this?! 

This quote is the perfect edition for a high school graduate OR college graduate and a great reminder of the change in the world they are about to have.

4. DIY State Canvas

graduation gift ideas

I think we can all relate to how many shirts we gather in high school and college whether it be from sports or random shirts you pick up.

These shirts can be turned into an awesome graduation gift that they will keep forever.

The Thrifty Home does a great on how to create one of these.

Best Grad Gift Ideas For Her:

5. Weighted Blanket

I love this idea because it's perfect for a high school or a college graduate.

I just got one of these this year and it makes me feel so cozy and secure at night. I now have so many friends that own one. Highly recommend!

PS- mine is 20lbs :). 

6. Hydroflask

Hydroflasks are the "it" water bottle right now. They keep drinks cold for so long and are so nice to keep in your backpack while walking around campus.

7. Graduation Gift Card Holder

If you do want to get a gift card for your graduate (which BTW is totally fine because every college student needs them) put it in a cute graduation box!

Also, Amazon gift cards are 100% the way to go.

8. Cute Desk Calendar

Calendars are so helpful to keep track of what's going on in school/work. It would be super cute if you got them a desk calendar, cute pens, and other organization desk things in a gift basket. 

9. Phone Wallet

Trust me... these phone wallets are literally life savers. College students have a habit of losing things, but they always have their phone on them.

This wallet sticks to the back of your phone and makes keeping track of money and cards so much easier.

If you want to do even more, include a gift card or money in the wallet!

10. Air Purifier

Speaking from personal experience, dorms are gross. They get humid and it is so common to get sick.

This was one thing I wish I had before moving into my dorm and I promise your graduate will thank you for it later on.

11. Custom Makeup Bag

graduation gifts for her

I actually got a custom makeup bag for one of my graduation gifts and it was by far one of my favorite gifts! I used it everyday and it wasn't something that just collected dust in my closet.

I like big makeup bags because I always would carry my makeup into my friends dorms to get ready so it was nice when I was able to fit everything inside. 

12. Brita Water Purifier

A Brita is a gift any girl or guy would love as a graduation gift. It saves so many trips to the water fountain and makes sure your water is clean. Trust me... dorm water is gross.

Everyone I know that lives in dorms has a Brita and loves it!

13. HiMirror Makeup Mirror

Okay, I have a HiMirror and it is one of the best purchases I have ever made.

This is a touch screen, lighted mirror that analyzes your skin, can access YouTube, Instagram, and Spotify, and even has Amazon Alexa built in. AND it's only a little over $100. 

14. Toiletry Travel Bag

Along with having a traditional makeup bag, having a toiletry travel bag is a must.

Packing and traveling back home from school can be super annoying. Get your graduate a portable toiletry bag to make traveling that much easier. I got one of these as a graduation gift and was so grateful later on.

15. Amazon Alexa

Amazon Alexa's are super cool. It makes playing music that much less work and is a great graduation gift idea for college students.

Whenever I have friends over I am always playing music and love my Amazon Alexa!

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16. Word Light Box

Lit word boxes are a super popular and cute dorm decoration. Use this as a graduation gift idea for a decor piece your graduate will be sure to use!

17. Photo Collage Wall Decor

Students often want to take photos from home to display in their dorm. This photo collage wall piece is so cute and would be a well used graduation gift.

18. Polaroid

I used my polaroid so much in college. Such a fun way to keep memories!

19. Wooden Polaroid Picture Holders

These little wooden picture displays are so adorable. Give them as a graduation gift! You could even add some photos of you and the graduate in them to make it more special.

20. Hair And Body Towel Wrap

Community bathrooms honestly are such a pain. But, these towel wraps make it so much easier to take your stuff back and forth without having to hold your towel up.

These by far one of my most recommended products for dorm rooms.

21. Monogrammed Towels

So many people will have similar looking towels. Get your graduate a monogrammed towel to distinguish them from the others!

I got these for all my friends as graduation gifts and they loved them.

22. Cute Notebooks

Fun and cute school supplies makes working so much easier. These notebooks are a cute graduation gift idea for kids starting their first year in college.

23. Mini Keurig 

Coffee is a college student's best friend. Because dorm space is so limited, this mini coffee maker is a perfect graduation gift idea for your coffee loving graduate!

24. "Where's Mom Now That I Need Her" Book

I can't tell you how many kids I met in school that did not now how to live without their mom.

This book tells you all about doing laundry, grocery shopping, health, and anything on surviving on your own.

25. Beauty Blender Set

If the girl you are getting a gift for likes makeup than she will be obsessed with these. Honestly, she probably already owns one but having this set and extra is SO nice.

I just got these as a gift and I'm obsessed.

26. AirPods

This gift is a little more on the pricey side but I promise your graduate will love it. These are a great graduation gift idea if you want to do something really special for them.

This is something I am personally asking for for graduation :). 

27. Laptop Case

Keeping all your electronics in one safe place is super important. Buy your graduate a cute computer case to keep everything organized.

28. "Makeup Eraser" Reusable Makeup Removing Cloth

I have this and LOVE it!! Makeup wipes are expensive! This "Makeup Eraser" saves money on makeup wipes and can be used over and over again.

29. Mario Badescu Skincare Set

One of my favorite skin care products on the market. Trust me, anyone who loves to take care of their skin will thank you for these!

30. Make A Spa Set

This is one of my favorite graduation gift ideas. College and work is stressful. This spa basket is fun to make and will be put to good use.

31. Backpack

Everyone needs a backpack! This North Face backpack is one of the most popular and is super durable so it can be used for many years to come.

I'm graduating college this year and have had my North Face backpack since freshman year and it's still perfectly put together!

dorm room essentials

32. Waterproof Speaker

So many people love to listen to music in the shower. I would have loved to receive this as a graduation gift!

33. Portable Charger

You can never go wrong with chargers. Portable chargers literally saved my life in school and they will for sure be put to good use.

34. Cordless Charger

This cordless charger is such a great graduation gift idea to give! Charging cords always break. With this one, just place your phone on the charging pad and it charges!

35. Clear Game Day Bag

Clear bags are something super important for college students planning on going to games.

If you want to make this graduation gift idea even more special, buy one with their school logo on it!

Best Grad Gift Ideas For Him:

36. Durable Speaker

I can't think of one of my guy friends who wouldn't want this as a graduation gift for him!

This one is durable and can hold up to the tossing around it may get living in a guys room/apartment.

37. Carry On Garment Bag

THIS IS THE BEST!! I have bought this multiple times for guys in my life.

No seriously, it's so cool. This bag opens up into a garment bag and can fit up to three suits. It is the perfect gift for college graduates who are traveling and/or interviewing since they can include all their suits without getting wrinkled.

It also has a shoe pocket so your shoes don't touch the rest of your clothes.

38. Beer Pong Set

...if you want a gift that is guaranteed to be used ;).

39. YETI Beer Rambler

Any YETI product is basically guaranteed to be amazing and this beer rambler is something a lot of my guy friends have and love!

40. A Nice Watch

Whether the graduate is graduating from high school or college, there will be many moments where they have to look professional and pulled together and a nice watch is the perfect addition to any outfit.

It's also a perfect gift because a lot of guys won't want to spend the money on one of these for themselves.

41. iPhone Finder

TILE is the best for anyone that is known for losing things (like their keys or wallet).

You can just put one of these on your keychain and then it automatically tracks to your phone. 

42. Roku Stick With JBL Headphones for Private Listening

These allow you to wear headphones and listen to your TV without distracting your roommates!! Isn't that amazing?

I've seriously been waiting so long for something like this to come out on the market. 

43. Crock Pot

Crockpots are especially nice for men because they can just throw food in it and then have dinner made for them by the time they get home from work.

Dorm Essentials for Graduation Gifts:

44. Twin XL Memory Foam Mattress Topper

This is by far the most popular gift idea on my website and something that will change this graduates life in their dorm.

It's a MUST for dorm rooms!

45. 10' iPhone Chargers

These 10' long chargers are the absolute best because you can get them to go around an entire dorm room. Since most dorm rooms only have one or two plugs, that makes these so practical.

And no college student can have enough chargers ;). 

46. Custom Towel Wrap

graduation gift for dorms

With having to share a bathroom when living in a dorm, these towel wraps are lifesavers when walking to and from and making sure your towel doesn't fall off.

I got this as a graduation gift when I graduated high school and still use it every time I shower!

47. Small Vacuum

This little vacuum is the best for having in a dorm room because it's small but it's surprisingly powerful and can easily be used for any spills or just weekly cleaning.

I recommend this to anyone moving into dorm rooms!

48. Clip-On Fan

This may seem like a random gift to give your graduate but when the graduate is sleeping in a room that isn't air-conditioned and is sweating their butt of, they will be praising you for this clip-on fan!

49. Mesh Shower Caddy

The only shower caddy I recommend! This would make such a great graduation gifts.

50. Faux-Leather Futon

My favorite futon for dorm rooms because the fake leather makes it so easy to clean if there is any spills!

And it's really reasonably priced compared to other futons on the market.

51. Sound Machine

This sound machine was my saving grace for living in the dorms! It blocks out all noise so you can sleep/study without hearing the room next to you. It's under $20 too!

Apartment Essentials for Graduation Gifts:

52. 23 Piece Mixing Bowl Set

You get so much in this set and it's under $30!! That is an incredible deal and the perfect gift for someone moving into their first apartment.

53. Cookware Set

Another must for new apartments - a cookware set! This Cuisinart is a really great gift for someone graduating college because they are nice but not SUPER nice.

It's a great deal for the quality you get!

54. Gold and White Cooking Utensils

I got these for Christmas and they feel so much more expensive than they were! 

55. Basic Tool Set

This tool set is a great graduation gift ideas and is something that will constantly be reached for for years to come.

56. Nespresso Machine

Anyone starting to work in the "real world" needs a large amount of caffeine and this Nespresso machine gives you coffee shop worthy drinks.

This post was all about the best Graduation Gift Ideas.

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