Since the majority of college students feel stressed about finances, most of the ideas on this list of gifts for college students are thoughtful ways to relieve anxiety and worry.
For instance, a “Cool for College” Amazon Gift Card via Email allows college students to buy anything from textbooks to Twizzlers, laptops to laser hair removal. A gift card is one of the most perfect gifts for college students because it allows them freedom to buy what they need for school, work, or life in general. Unless your college student has asked for something specific, I’d put an Amazon gift card at the top of any list of gifts for college students.
A new national survey from Ohio State University found that seven out of 10 college students feel stressed about their personal finances. Students pay for college with student loans (36%), scholarships, 35%), family (19%), and work (4%). Helping a student find ways to get money for school is one of the best gifts for college students.
“Students feel good about their decision to go to college and think it will pay off in the end,” says co-author Catherine Montalto, an associate professor of human sciences at Ohio State and the co-author of the survey about finances and college students. “We need to help students manage their stress so they can be conscientious about their financial decisions, but not so overwhelmed that it hurts their academics or health.” These thoughtful gifts for college students will help them manage their financial, emotional, and academic stress.
10 Thoughtful Gifts for College Students
If your college student has trouble sleeping, read 10 Gifts for Insomniacs and People Who Can’t Sleep. Getting enough sleep is one of the best ways to manage stress.
Don’t look for frivolous gifts for college students, such as dorm room decorations or beer mugs. Don’t create more work for college students by giving books about getting good grades or building good relationships with professors. Instead, buy gifts that help make a college student’s life easier.
An academic planner and organizer
Academic organizers are surprisingly expensive, so a Tools4Wisdom College Planner for the Academic Year is the perfect gift for both organized and scattered college students.
Now that I’m done university, I use a free app as my social planner. But I’ve always used a print planner for my work and academic due dates, projects, and responsibilities. Print planners allow for quick and easy viewing – and the Tools4Wisdom planner helps college students not only set goals, but increase motivation and creativity.
Fast cooking! A cookbook with healthy, easy recipes
Great Food Fast – Bob Warden’s Ultimate Pressure Cooker Recipes contains several easy, quick meals that are delicious and comforting. The recipes use easy ingredients, the instructions are excellent, and the pictures are awesome.
College students don’t have time, energy, or motivation to cook – but they need to eat healthy foods! A pressure cooker cookbook will help them avoid fast food restaurants (which cost too much money) and stay healthy.
A pressure cooker – the ultimate gift for college students
True confessions time: I didn’t know what a pressure cooker was until I started researching these gifts for college students!
An Instant Pot Programmable Pressure Cooker is a multi-functional pot. It’s several things in one: a pressure cooker for super fast recipes, a slow cooker for long-cooking food, a rice cooker, a yogurt maker, a steamer and a warmer.
A pressure cooker uses steam sealed within its airtight cooking pot. All you do is seal in a liquid such as water, wine, stock or broth in the pot. Add food to the pressure cooker and turn it on. This increases the pressure and temperature inside the cooker, which significantly speeds up the cooking process. The pressure infuses the hot steam into the food. Pressure cooking can cook foods in a third of the ordinary time – and often over 10 times faster. Food tastes better than it does in a microwave. See why it’s one of the most thoughtful gifts for college students?
If your college student is a freshman, read How to Prepare for College – What You Need to Know.
A laptop or tablet with wireless keyboard
When I went back to university a couple years ago, the first thing I bought was a tablet. A tablet or small laptop is perfect for those small college desks, and helps students keep up with their coursework while they’re actually in class.
An HP Stream 11.6 Inch Laptop includes Office 365 Personal for one year, which is perfect for college students who need to save money.
I bought a 10 inch Galaxy Samsung Tab when I went to graduate school. I thought it’d be lighter and more portable than a laptop, but I regretted buying it. I couldn’t write papers or take notes on the tablet unless I bought a small wireless keyboard, and I didn’t want to spend more money on luxury electronics. That’s why the most thoughtful gifts for college students are those that help them save money and time.
Think about the gift as an investment in your college student’s education and future, not just a gift to celebrate going back to school.
Care packages for college students
A Deluxe College Care Package is one of those gifts for college students that’s both practical and fun. All students need to study – no matter how easy it is for them to get good grades. And all students need to munch while they read textbooks, do group work on projects, and study for exams.
The care package show includes 35 individually wrapped single serve snacks and quick meals, which is perfect for the busy college student, break rooms, care packages, road trips, and college dorms. There are healthy snack care packages (eg, fiber bars, packages of raisins, nuts, granola bars, juice, etc), which are probably healthier gifts for college students.
Is your college student an adult learner? Her wish list may look slightly different than a list of gifts for 20 year old college students. Read 20 Birthday Gifts for Women Turning 40 – Plus Retro Gift Ideas.
Dinner and a movie
A Darden-Fandango Dinner and a Movie Gift Certificate for College Students is a fantastic way to help college students relax during or after a busy semester. College students don’t have alot of extra money for movie theaters or restaurant dinners, and a dinner and a movie treat would be a perfect way to unwind.
This gift for college students includes a $25 Darden gift card for a restaurant and a $25 Fandango gift certificate for a movie. Darden is the world’s largest full-service restaurant company, with over 1,500 restaurants in all 50 states. Restaurants include Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, Yard House, Red Lobster and other Darden-connected restaurants in the United States. Fandango gift cards can be used to purchase tickets for many different theaters, including Regal, AMC, Cinemark, Carmike and many others. Go to Fandango.com to find a theater near your college student.
Housecleaning services for a semester
Boy, would I have loved a house cleaner when I was a student! I’d still love one 🙂 What an awesome gift, because it helps college students keep their houses clean and helps them feel more organized and healthy.
While I think a house cleaner is a good gift, I’m not convinced it’s the BEST gift for college students. I think the money would be more appreciated, or a gift card for gas or groceries. Having a clean bathroom and kitchen is nice but not essential. Food is essential. Healthy stress management is essential.
A leather book bag
I’m ending with my favorite gift for college students: a Leather Backpack and Bookbag.
Leather backpacks or bookbags are both stylish and sturdy. Unless your college student is a vegetarian who doesn’t like leather products, this backpack might be just the ticket.
The leather backpack pictured is handcrafted by experienced craftsman, and has high quality long lasting zippers, brass fittings, UV thread for all stitching, and a strong canvas lining inside. Every item is double stitched for durability. Leather backpacks are much nicer than cloth ones, and will last forever.
The best gifts for college students are…
Gifts that the student actually wants – even if you don’t think it’s a necessary product or service. For example, I wouldn’t spend money on iTunes, new clothes (I’m a thrift store freak), or expensive tech products for school. I’d rather have gift cards to grocery stores and gas stations. When you’re shopping for gifts for college students, put yourself in their shoes. Given their personality, hobbies, and lifestyle, what do you think they’d really like as a gift?
That’s the best tip on how to find the most thoughtful gifts for college students – or anybody, for that matter. Give gifts that you think they’d like to receive, not gifts that you think they should have.
If your college student is studying to be a teacher, read 20 Christmas Gift Ideas for Teachers.
I welcome your comments on these thoughtful gifts for college students! If you have ideas to share, please don’t hesitate to gift me your thoughts.
May you find the perfect gift for your college student, and may the school year be blessed with all good things. May the challenges be rewarding, the problems be promising, and the fears be enlightening.
Need encouragement? Sign up for my weekly "Echoes of Joy" email - it's free, short, and energizing. Like me! Is your relationship in trouble? Get 7 Steps to Fixing Your Marriage from relationship coach Mort Fertel. It's free and helpful, no strings attached.