As our kids get older it can be hard to choose the right gift, especially when you’re tryin to buy gifts for college students.

Gifts for College StudentsSometimes we think we have the very best gift idea for our college age child and come to find out that it’s collecting dust and never used. College students can be particular and gift giving can be tricky. But here are a few good suggestions for buying gifts for college students

Here are nine fail-proof gift ideas for college students:


There’s always something new on the market that will please kids. Tablet computers are great for taking notes and catching up on TV shows. Noise-cancelling headphones drown out a roommate’s loud music when trying to study. Portable music players add an energizing soundtrack to sessions at the gym. And of course, cell phones are indispensible. If you’re giving an electronic, write down the product registration number in case you don’t receive or lose it en route.

Gift Cards

If all else fails, “buy a gift card,” says Marjorie Savage, author of the college advice book You’re on Your Own (But I’m Here If You Need Me). “They’re even easy to purchase online.”


Clothes are usually the unwanted gift, but that changes once kids start college. “Many students at the University of Minnesota email their parents photos of the jeans or shirts they want,” says Savage. “A lot of them ask for warmer coats during the winter.”

School Swag

Students love clothes and gear from the college bookstores and student stores. “Be sure to buy from the bookstore’s website so your child can return your gift if it doesn’t fit,” says Sarah Schupp, founder of

Laundry Gear

Most students have to schlep their clothes to the laundry room every week, so a laundry bag that fits like a backpack is an inexpensive godsend.

Event Tickets

Tickets to a campus sporting event, movie theater, convention or concert are a sure hit, as long as you know a kid’s taste.

Two-wheel Transportation

Most college campuses are too big to walk everywhere, so bikes are a primary way to get around. Give your child ten extra minutes of sleep every morning and he’ll love you forever.


If Spring break is around the corner, offer your child a plane ticket to somewhere fun, for a gift that he’ll definitely remember.

Everyday Needs

A gift card to a brick-and-mortar superstore will save your student money on toiletries and supplies, and she’ll appreciate it even more if everything is delivered. “Most students don’t have a car, and even laundry detergent can be hard to take home on your bike,” says Schupp. This can be a great gift for a college student. 

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Gifts for College Students