25 Gift Ideas for Your College Graduate

Your college student is graduating.  Congratulations!  It’s possible that your student will move on to graduate school, or he may be beginning his career.  Whichever direction he takes, he is now at a milestone and you want to mark the moment with an appropriate graduation gift.  Your graduation gift may be large or small, practical or sentimental, but it may be time for some “real life” tools.

Here are some suggestions to help you begin thinking about what you’d like to do for your graduate.  Use these possibilities to start your own imagination working about what your graduate might like or need.

1.      Personalized leather portfolio – Your graduate may be either participating in interviews in the coming months or attending business meetings for the first time.  A quality leather portfolio will look polished and help her keep her papers together.

2.      Travel Accessories – Your graduate may be traveling as part of a new job, or just for a well-earned vacation.  Consider accessories that might make traveling easier – anything from a travel clock, toiletry bag, travel pillow, etc.

3.      Luggage – If your graduate may be travelling, this may be the perfect time for some grown-up luggage.

4.      Passport case – For the young professional who may need to travel, consider a leather case for passport and important documents.

5.      Remote presentation device –Perhaps your young professional may be called upon to give Power Point presentations as part of a new job.  If so,  this device allows him to wander from the computer and still have control of his slides.  It will help him polish his presentational skills.

6.      Apartment furnishings – If your graduate will be setting up housekeeping in a new place, almost anything to help furnish a new apartment will be welcome.

7.      Laptop bag or briefcase – Has your student been carrying his laptop in a backpack or rather well-worn messenger bag?  Consider a quality laptop bag or briefcase for a more professional look.

8.      Business card case – New business cards should have a quality carrying case!

9.      Wallet – Perhaps this is a good time for a new, leather, wallet for a polished look and grown-up feel.

10.  WiFi internet hotspot finder – This small device will help your graduate find important WiFi spots for working on a laptop away from the office or home.

11.  Kindle – Carry books and other reading material in a compact form.

12.  I-Pad – This will serve many functions for your graduate as she moves into the professional world.

13.  Diploma frame – Your graduate may want to display his diploma on the wall of his new office or apartment.

14.  Vacation – Perhaps you’ll choose to send your graduate on a vacation to celebrate the end of the college years.

15.  Car – If your student doesn’t already have a car, this may be the time that it will become necessary.  If you can’t afford to give the car as a gift, you might be able to help your graduate make the purchase.

16.  Car maintenance package – Give the gift of a year’s worth of maintenance and registration fees to your graduate.

17.  Work appropriate clothes – Depending on the field in which your new graduate will be working, he may need almost an entirely new wardrobe.  Gifts of work appropriate clothes may be especially welcome.

18.  Tour of the city – If your graduate may be moving to a new location, consider giving her the gift of a tour of her new city or location.  Consider something fun like a bike tour, a segway tour, a duck tour, or a themed tour such as chocolate, wine tasting or a ghost tour.  Visit a website for the location for ideas.

19.  Professional organization memberships – Is there a professional organization that your graduate might like to join?  Membership may provide him access to journals, networking, and job searching possibilities.

20.  Gym membership – Your college student may have had access to outstanding fitness facilities at school.  Perhaps she’d like to continue to stay active with a membership to a local gym or fitness facility.

21.  Artwork – Does your graduate have a new apartment or office to decorate?  Consider some artwork to help him move beyond college posters.

22.  Personal finance kit – Help your student get started on the right foot with budgeting software, filing supplies, and a paper shredder for personal documents.

23.  Office or desk accessories – If your graduate has a new office, he may appreciate a few quality accessories – business card holder, paperweight, pen/pencil set, lamp, etc

24.  Jewelry – Perhaps a piece of understated jewelry will help with your graduate’s professional appearance.  Consider a new watch, necklace, cufflinks, bracelet, earrings.

25.  Food – consider a gift of food that lasts or continues to arrive throughout the year.  Consider fruit of the month, jelly of the month, coffee of the month, almost anything of the month.  If budgets are a bit tight, your graduate will continue to appreciate this all year.

Whatever you choose to give to your college graduate, it will let him know how proud you are of all that he has accomplished.  You’ve both come a long way since those first nervous freshman days.  Enjoy this moment and celebrate with your graduate!  Whatever comes next will be a new adventure!

Related Posts:

Holiday Gifts for College Students

Reading List: When Your College Student Graduates

Boomerang Kids: When Your College Graduate Moves Back Home


7 thoughts on “25 Gift Ideas for Your College Graduate”

  1. Wow, well I guess my DAUGHTER has no business getting PRESENTATION devices as a grad gift as no doubt she has gotten her college degree in MRS….according to the WOMAN who runs this site. “Perhaps your young professional may be called upon to give Power Point presentations as part of a new job. If so, this device allows HIM to wander from the computer and still have control of HIS slides. It will help HIM polish his presentational skills.”

    • Chris – It’s always a struggle to choose pronouns. Regular readers of this site will note that we alternate between he/him and she/her in our posts. Just a bit above the presentation device, you’ll notice that for the leather portfolio (also an important business tool) it says, “A quality leather portfolio will look polished and help her keep her papers together.” As the mother of three daughters, I know messages matter. Comments like yours help keep us on our toes. Thanks.

  2. Thank you heather for this amazing list of stuff! Have you heard of CubbyCase? I recently heard about them from another parent and they’re a learning through play subscription box for children, by Harvard experts! Thought that would make a really interesting gift for kids

  3. How about the LAWSUIT’! board game for the attorney wannabe, or the grad that enjoys playing fun board games with family and friends?

  4. These are great gifts. Personal organizers should not be missing in action. Though we are on a digital world nowadays, a personal paper planner still makes everything organized and well-planned.

  5. Great ideas. If your student has not yet found a job or decided on a career, another idea might be sessions with a career coach that specializes in working with young professionals. Of course, I am biased as a coach, but it is something to add to the list!

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