Even though it’s looking like most colleges will be continuing with remote-based lesson plans and seminars, you can still get the college kid(s) in your life a gift they’ll appreciate whether they’re in a dorm, on their own in an apartment, or living at home. Here are some of the smartest, most thoughtful gifts a college student will actually use (the products are so good, you’ll probably want a few for yourself…like that taco blanket).
We’ve included the super practical items they literally can’t function without (an extension cord, portable charger, and noise-cancelling headphones, for example), and some fun (but totally necessary) basics, like a sunrise alarm clock and totally dope slippers. Without further ado, here are 18 gift ideas for college students.
The Best College Gifts, Hands Down
Whether they’ll be spending time studying or video-chatting with friends in their dorm room or their own room this year, noise-cancelling headphones are 100 percent a must. That way, they’ll be able to blast music or listen to their online course at whatever volume they want — without any kind of disruption. COWIN headphones have over 33,000 reviews and over 4 1/2 stars, so the price tag is worth it (you don’t want to be replacing headphones every semester). Plus, these headphones come with all the awesome features, and can play up to 30 hours before requiring re-charging. Plus, they’re sleek and comfortable (yup, even if you wear glasses).
Every college student inevitably ends up studying and doing homework in bed. That’s just the way life goes, TBH. Having a lap laptop desk at least avoids the problem of laptops easily overheating when placed on top of a comforter or blanket, and the way this particular lap laptop desk is designed makes typing way more comfortable (the cushions mitigate risk for carpal tunnel and make balancing a laptop in bed way easier). With an anti-slip strip and storage pocket that holds your phone, this is the best option when it comes to working from bed.
Although we think this taco blanket speaks for itself, if you’re gonna get your college kid a blanket they can snuggle up in as they pull all-nighters, you might as well have some fun with it. Everyone probably already has their go-to blanket, so here’s something they most likely don’t have already.
Even if you’re not going to be living at the dorms (and if you are, a mini fridge is super useful if you want cold beverages and chilled snacks in your own room), having a mini fridge for convenience is the ultimate luxury. CosyFame’s mini fridge actually comes with cooling and warming dual modes, so you can easily switch between cooling down and heating up whatever it is that you want. It’s the perfect size and also, may we add, super chic (ya know, in case clunky fridges aren’t your thing).
One charger for the dorm, one for home. Even if this college kid is remotely learning this year, we all know how evasive chargers can be (please raise your hand if you can’t seem to stop misplacing yours, and just know you are not alone). Miady’s chargers, which come with nearly 3,600 reviews and 4 1/2 stars, are compatible with the latest iPhones, Galaxy, and Pixels. They’re lightweight, super reliable, and come in all kinds of colors.
If your college student still prefers taking notes the “old school” way, this smart notebook is the best of both worlds. You get a real notebook you can hand-write in, and transfer the notes to your laptop. It comes with 36 pages that you can easily wipe down with a damp cloth (a pen and cloth are both included).
You probably know that phones are dirty. Like, really, really dirty. It’s reported that phones are 10 times dirtier than a toilet seat, so it makes sense to wipe ’em down on a regular basis. But not everyone has Clorox wipes on hand (and they’re unfortunately still so hard to find these days). Enter the dual phone sanitizer and charger tool. It’s clinically proven to kill 99.9 percent of the bacteria on your phone, while also charging it up. You can never be too safe in the days of COVID-19.
If your college student is a big-time reader, gifting them a Kindle gives them access to unlimited books at a (usually) cheaper price, *and* they can avoid going to the library during this time. (We love libraries, but we know that many are temporarily closed, especially those on college campuses). There’s also less of a risk sharing germs when you have a Kindle versus checking out books. Kindles are easy to use, and the latest version has a built-in light so you can read in the dark while your roommates are sleeping.
This practical gift ensures your college kid won’t have to keep plugging and unplugging all their electronic devices, *and* don’t need to be be situated near an outlet to charge anything. This particular cord is 15 feet long, but you can also choose from six and eight feet, respectively.
With gyms closed down, we’re all doing our best with what we’ve got — and that includes college students as well. Give them a high-quality yoga mat that also serves as an exercise mat for planks, pushups, squats, and more. This particular yoga mat is extra thick, so even the hardest of hard wood floors won’t hurt your back when you use it. It’s also made with non-toxic materials, and includes a travel-friendly carrier strap that’ll be useful when yoga studios finally open back up again.
Best Gifts for College Girls
This cute alarm clock comes with a wake-up light that helps even the soundest of sleepers get out of bed. The light is especially helpful during the late fall and winter season, when mornings can be so dark and cold. This alarm clock isn’t super high tech (sometimes, the more simple, the better) but it does include a USB cable.
If your college teen *is* heading to the dorms this year (or even if they’re renting out their own place), having a pretty and comfortable comforter set makes anywhere feel like home. This soft microfiber set by Intelligent Design comes in different colors (aqua, gray, ivory, and white) and comes with a matching sham and decorative pillow. Sizes include Twin/Twin XL, Full/Queen, and King/California King.
When you’re not in class or (safely) hanging out with friends, you’re rightfully at home, chilling out. As it turns cooler, any college student is going to need a pair of cozy slippers they can slide into whenever they make a trip to the bathroom, common areas, or just around the house. These much-loved slippers are super fuzzy and breathable, coming with memory foam inserts that take the comfy level up a notch from your standard slipper.
The “secret” to healthy skin, hair, and feelings is drinking a crap-ton of water. It helps having a super cute water bottle that’s too bright and fun to miss. Vmini water bottles come in all kinds of colors and color combinations, and they’re leakproof and sweatproof (so no need to worry about throwing this in your bag and getting your papers all wet!).
This pretty hard shell case cover for 13-inch Macbook Airs is ideal for protecting your most important tool: Your laptop! Once libraries and cafes do start opening back up again, laptops are known to get lugged around from place-to-place, so you’ll want to make sure the owner keeps it safe. If you have a MacBook Pro (or other types of laptops), Amazon has a wide variety of super high-quality, cute, and durable covers for laptops.
Best Gifts for College Boys
We have this down as one of the best gifts for guys, but really, this controller and device holder is awesome for anyone and everyone who loves playing video games (and loves Star Wars, duh). The force is strong with this one, as it holds PlayStation and Xbox game controllers along with phones, so never worry about losing a device ever again. Darth Vader will be holding it for ya.
Even if your college kid isn’t going back to school this semester, you might as well prepare them by setting them up with a two-in-one messenger bag *and* backpack that will hold a laptop, books, phone, and everything in between. It’s the perfect size, and has the ideal amount of pockets for optimal organization.
A thoughtful gift for a college guy is a nice wallet that looks more expensive than a Happy Meal. This Johnston & Murphy wallet is simple, classy, functional, and gets the job done. Every guy needs a good quality wallet in college. It’s the ultimate, most practical upgrade that’ll be used daily.
Every guy eventually needs to transition over from washing their face with a soap bar, to using grownup facial cleanser every morning. Clinique’s 3-piece Oil Control set is a great way to ease into a face-cleansing routine. The set includes a cleanser, cream shave, and mattifying moisturizer (yup, that’s how applying lotion and *not* looking shiny works!).
While you’re here, check out other Back to School shopping roundups we’ve got for ya!