The 30 Best Gifts for College Students

The perfect presents for the little academic in your life.

The 30 Best Gifts for College Students
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Going off to college is rarely an easy transition—not just you as a parent, but for your teenagers, too. And though today’s 100-level courses and cafeteria food may remain as bland as when you were in college, there are plenty of ways to make your kids’ college experiences a little bit more fun. So, whether your kid is spending their first birthday away from home or you just want to pass along a care package, read on to discover some truly amazing gifts for the college student in your life. And for more amazing back-to-school buys, check out the 25 Best Backpacks for College Students.

Best Life’s editors have scoured the internet to bring you the best products out there, and we’re hoping you’ll love them as much as we do. Full disclosure: we may earn a commission for anything you purchase through links on this page, but that doesn’t mean you’ll pay more for them (we’d never do that to you!). Pricing and availability are accurate as of the piece’s initial publication date, but it’s the internet and we can’t guarantee that these sweet, sweet deals will last forever, so scoop them up before someone else does!

1
The 5-Ingredient College Cookbook

5-ingredient college cookbook, best gifts for college students Target

$14; buy now at Target

Let’s face it: Even the best cafeteria food is still, well, cafeteria food. For the college student whose palate is a little more refined, this five-ingredient cookbook can make creating healthy, gourmet meals a breeze.

2
This “Things They Don’t Teach in School” game

box and cards from things they don't teach you in school game, best gifts for college students Uncommon Goods

$20; buy now at Uncommon Goods

Sure, you’re paying a pretty penny for your kids to learn, but they can’t teach everything at school. And for all the stuff those courses leave out, there’s this hilarious game, which covers everything from the Mona Lisa’s eyebrows (or lack thereof) to the invention of shampoo.

3
This stylish laptop bag

pink laptop bag, best gifts for college students Dagne Dover

$135; buy now at Dagne Dover

Toting around that laptop from class to class doesn’t have to mean lugging around a bulky bag. For the stylish student in your life, there’s this Dagne Dover laptop case, made of an easy-to-clean and protective neoprene. And for more great arm candy, check out these 27 Gorgeous Beach Bags You Can Use All Year.

4
These shearling slippers

shearling slippers, best gifts for college students L.L. Bean

From $70; by now at L.L. Bean

Even the most luxe dorm rooms are unlikely to have radiant flooring—and nothing’s worse than waking up and immediately having your feet hit a freezing cold floor. So, to help avoid those chilly piggies, there’s this popular pair of shearling-lined slippers; they’re so loved, in fact, that the company has sold more than 4 million pairs to date!

5
This portable French fry power bank

phone charging bank that looks like french fries, best gifts for college students Urban Outfitters

$25; buy now at Urban Outfitters

If your kids’ phone batteries are constantly hovering around the 0 percent mark, make it easier for them to call home on a regular basis with this cute French fry power bank.

6
This oversized velvet floor cushion

red velvet cushion, best gifts for college students

$35; buy now at Target

Of the many things you’ll find in a dorm room—desks, textbooks, that guy from biology class who came by to study and never left—ample seating is unlikely to be one of them. For any student who could use some more space to host friends, this comfy velvet cushion is a must-have.

7
This retro mini fridge

pink mini fridge, best gifts for college students Best Buy

$100; buy now at Best Buy

Whether they’re chilling seltzer or their nightly eye mask, this retro fridge is an adorable (and compact) addition to any small space.

8
This cozy faux fur throw

gray faux fur blanket, best gifts for college students Nordstrom

$49; buy now at Nordstrom

Who says that dorm room bedding can’t be stylish? This cozy fur throw will make even the most bare bones room look like a million bucks. And for things that don’t belong at college, check out these 30 Things You Should Never Keep in Your Dorm Room.

9
The Zero Waste Cookbook

zero waste cookbook, best gifts for college students ban.do

$20; buy now at ban.do

Looking for a meal plan that will benefit your kids’ health and budgets? With The Zero Waste Cookbook, your kids will learn the time-honored—and eco-friendly—art of making meals without a lot left over.

10
This charging station

airpods and iphone in charging dock, best gifts for college students Urban Outfitters

$25; buy now at Urban Outfitters

Keep those devices contained and fully juiced with this charging station, which holds wireless earbuds, an Apple Watch, and an iPhone in one petite package.

11
This Cards Against Humanity Set

cards against humanity, best gifts for college students Amazon

$25; buy now at Amazon

Games you don’t want your kids playing in college: beer pong, mumblety peg, strip anything. Games that are just as fun that don’t run the risk of arrest or maiming: Cards Against Humanity.

12
This colorful lightning cable

rainbow charging cord with lightning and USB ends, best gifts for college students rue21

$10; buy now at Rue21

Living with a roommate is hard enough without constant fights over who stole whose phone cable. Luckily, with this rainbow version, that problem will be a thing of the past.

13
This rainbow planner

rainbow planner, best gifts for college students ban.do

$28; buy now at ban.do

Sure, every phone has a calendar on it these days, but for those dates they absolutely can’t afford to miss a notification for, there’s always this trustworthy (and adorable) paper planner.

14
This Mario Bros. Sugarfina bento box

mario-themed candy box, best gifts for college students Nordstrom

$30; buy now at Nordstrom

Short of Dominique Ansel taking up residency at a college, it’s unlikely that most college students are getting much in the way of great desserts. However, if they’re still eager to satisfy that sugar fix, there’s always this Sugarfina bento box that comes in cute Super Mario Bros. packaging.

15
This color-changing water bottle

color changing water bottle, best gifts for college students Uncommon Goods

$25; buy now at Uncommon Goods

College students are bound to find themselves parched on a regular basis, whether they’re too busy to stop at the water fountain between classes or have been sweating through one too many games of Ultimate. And for those occasions, there’s this color-changing water bottle, guaranteed to convince anyone to drink up. And for more adorable ways to contain your drinks, check out these 25 Cute Water Bottles That Will Keep You Hydrated.

16
This single cup Keurig machine

black one-cup keurig machine, best gifts for college students Target

$90$60; buy now at Target

Cafeteria coffee got you down? Then keep your own preferred brew on hand and enjoy it before class with this single cup Keurig machine.

17
This tabletop trinket storage box

small wooden storage chest, best gifts for college students World Market

$40; buy now at World Market

Don’t let those beloved baubles get lost after a night out. With this trinket storage box, they’ll always be safely tucked away.

18
This silk pillowcase

silk pillowcase, best gifts for college students Nordstrom

From $85; buy now at Nordstrom

Bedhead doesn’t have to be a staple of college living. With this silk pillowcase, anyone can wake up to a good hair day.

19
This Shake-N-Wake silent alarm clock

alarm clock watch, best gifts for college students Urban Outfitters

$20; buy now at Urban Outfitters

The only thing more annoying than living with a roommate? Living with one who freaks out the second your alarm goes off for an 8 a.m. class. To keep those tension-filled mornings to a minimum, there’s this alarm clock watch, which wakes you up silently so your roomie can keep sleeping.

20
This Pearl the Unicorn Doormat

unicorn doormat, best gifts for college students Uncommon Goods

$32; buy now at Uncommon Goods

Greet your guests and let them know what they can expect when they cross the threshold into your dorm room by placing this Pearl the Unicorn doormat outside your door. Magic awaits!

21
This fox manicure set

fox manicure kit, best gifts for college students World Market

$14; buy now at World Market

While there may not be a good spa within 50 miles of campus, you can give the college student in your life the next best thing: this fox manicure set, perfect for taming those crusty cuticles.

22
This postcard set

postcard set, best gifts for college students ban.do

$12; buy now at ban.do

Wish you received a little more communication from the college student in your life? Even if they only return every third text, they might be more inclined to drop you a line from time to time with this cute postcard set handy.

23
This office supply tackle box

clear box of office supplies, best gifts for college students Paper Source

$39; buy now at Paper Source

With magnets, binder clips, push pins, sticky notes, a pencil sharpener, a mechanical pencil, and a highlighter, this set has everything a student could need or want to tackle those never-ending essays and reports. And if your student has a habit of being messy, then make sure you inform them of these 20 Genius Tricks for Having a Perfectly Organized Desk.

24
This self-heating ceramic mug

black ceramic mug and saucer, best gifts for college students Urban Outfitters

$80; buy now at Urban Outfitters

Cold coffee from the cafeteria? Hard pass. With this programmable ceramic mug, the college student in your life will never have to suffer through a lukewarm cup again.

25
This Tardis USB hub

tardis usb hub, best gifts for college students Target

$37; buy now at Target

In small spaces, cable consolidation is key—and with this Tardis USB hub, all those potentially tangled wires will be kept in one tidy place.

26
This organic chili pepper growing kit

chili peppers growing in glass jar, best gifts for college students Uncommon Goods

$35; buy now at World Market

While there may not be enough space in the average dorm to plant a full garden, your child can always grow their own chili peppers with this convenient kit. These flavorful bad boys are perfect for spicing up those bland cafeteria meals.

27
This polka dot bath wrap

green towel with white polka dots, best gifts for college students Nordstrom

$39; buy now at Nordstrom

The bad news: There’s little that can be done about the grossness of communal showers. The good news: Your child can at least avoid flashing all their hall mates on the way out with this polka dot bath wrap.

28
These glass straws

set of multi colored glass straws, best gifts for college students ban.do

$18; buy now at ban.do

Instead of grabbing yet another plastic straw from the cafeteria, your college-aged kid can put their environmentalist ideals to work by using these stylish glass straws instead. Saving the planet has never looked so good.

29
This washable lunch bag

set of three lunch bags, best gifts for college students Uncommon Goods

$39; buy now at Uncommon Goods

Whether they’re toting leftovers back to the dorm or carrying around snacks between classes, this washable lunch bag is sure to come in handy for any college kid.

30
This straightening brush

yellow brush with cord, best gifts for college students Nordstrom

$145; buy now at Nordstrom

No time for a blowout? No problem. With this straightening brush, the college-aged person in your life can look like they just stepped out of the salon and still make it to that early lecture on time. And for more grooming essentials, check out these 30 Summer Beauty Products That Sweat-Proof Your Look.

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