A college student wants just a few things: clear skin, job security, and to have some fun. Some gifts can help with this. Others can’t, but they are still nice to have for how much they make lives easier for college students.
The best gifts for college students are fun, practical, and time-saving. These are three cardinal rules you must follow when buying college gifts for a freshman.
College students today are in a unique position in life probably between getting little sleep, taking classes while working, and taking care of themselves throughout everything. This is important to keep in mind when thinking about gifts.
It can be tasking thinking of gifts, which is why I have decided to help you with your shopping list by providing 70 gift ideas for your friend, loved one who is now a college freshman.
70 gift ideas for college freshman
1. A card game that is useful for game nights and parties.
College students today are of the meme generation, so this game will be very appreciated. This set includes 75 of the funniest memes plus 360 caption cards to make the most unreliable fun combinations for a game during study breaks or chill wine nights.
2. Free Perfumes
Finding a fragrance that you like is an unspoken step in finding your style. Buying a bunch of different scents to find THE fragrance can take a long time and cost a lot. Scentbirds is a perfume and cologne discovery subscription that helps you find your favourite perfumes by sending monthly options based on your preferences and all for just $84.
3. A sunrise alarm clock for a gentle wakeup
Using your phone as an alarm clock makes it a lot easier to start scrolling on your phone first thing in the morning, which isn’t a healthy habit.
A sunrise alarm clock can help your college student have a much better start to their day than immediately checking emails or scrolling on Instagram. The Hatch Restore is a great sunrise alarm option with a ton of special features, and the iHome Zenergy Dream Mini ($69.99) is the best option on a budget.
4. An air fryer for the snack lover
Air fryers are all the buzz for how they can turn just about anything into a warm, crispy delight. Most importantly, they save a lot of time, which every college student can appreciate. The Philips Premium TurboStar Air Fryer is one of the best air fryers on the market today.
5. A good wallet for their cards, cash, and student ID
A good wallet is a great option for college students who have to often show or swipe their student ID but don’t need overstuffed luggage. This wallet answers all their needs. The O-ring is a convenient and sturdy place to hold all their keys. It also makes it easy to clip the wallet into their other bags like a purse or backpack.
6. A steady supply of and tasty snacks
Give a college student food and he or she will remember you, feed them for a year and you forever have a place in their heart. Even when they graduate and are working in a job that pays 6 figures every month, they will still remember you.
College students live off good food and snacks. Gifting a subscription to Thrive Market means access to healthier snacks, which leads to feeling more energized and better studying.
7. A long-lasting backpack
Typical backpacks work great for class, but what about everything that happens outside of class? Having a sturdy backpack that’s well-suited for job interviews and traveling helps a lot. I still use a backpack to anywhere I’m going.
Herschel’s Little America ($109.99) is a great option because it’s versatile, sturdy, and stylish. It can be used anywhere in any scenario.
8. An aroma diffuser to set the mood
An aroma diffuser delivers soothing, in-home aromatherapy and is a great fragrance option for dorms where candles usually aren’t allowed. This one from Grove Collaborative circulates essential oils for up to five hours at a time, has LED light options, and pleasingly blends into any room thanks to its minimalistic ceramic design.
9. A weighted blanket enhances sleep
Every college student ever has needed better sleep. Weighted blankets apply a calming pressure on you, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up more rested. The great thing about Tranquility’s weighted blanket is how perfectly sized it is to move from bed to couch, how it is sized to fit a standard dorm twin XL bed, and most importantly, it can easily be washed.
10. A foolproof planner to keep everything organized
A Planner can help keep college freshmen organized between all their assignments, exams, events, and so much more. Day Designer makes luxurious planners that students love. There are daily or weekly Planner options which each has space for all your checklists and schedules plus extra pages for goal setting, future planning, and notes.
11. Comfortable socks
This might seem like a weird thing to buy for somebody, talk more of a college freshman. But you couldn’t be more wrong. Do not underestimate how useful a pair of comfortable socks can be, especially when they want to sleep. Comfort is pretty much always a hit in college.
Bombas makes the best socks on the market.
12. A water bottle to keep their drinks just the right temperature for hours
This HydroFlask will keep cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot drinks hot for up to 12 hours with the lid on, perfect for when they need coffee for a long night studying.
13. A book that helps them build good habits and break bad ones
Many college students are trying to map out what they want in life and how to build the habits that get them where they want to go. In the popular book “Atomic Habits,” James Clear, an expert on habit formation, teaches practical strategies for building lasting habits and ditching disadvantageous ones.
14. A waterproof speaker
A Bluetooth speaker is a must-have: it helps set the mood for study nights and helps bring the party to life whenever you are hosting. JBL’s Flip 5 speaker is the best choice. It has vibrantly booming bass, lasts for up to 12 hours without a charge, and is waterproof.
15. Clothes and shoes for their upcoming interviews and presentations
College is full of big meetings, big presentations, and nervous interviews. For days when sweatpants aren’t an option and something more formal is required, these are some great options for women’s staples.
16. A nice watch they can wear to internships
Watches are useful to everyone and college students are no exception. This nice gift lets them know when they are running late for a class, or if they still have enough time to finish that friendly conversation with their friends.
17. A key, wallet, and iPhone-finder
You can’t go wrong with a tracker for their keys, wallet, or phone. The Tile Mate is compact, thoughtful, and useful for everyone — especially a tired-out college student.
18. A smartphone-sized photo printer
Mini portable Bluetooth printers make turning phone photos into tangible memories quick and easy, which is convenient enough for decorating their room. All they will have to do is download the app which also has internal PhotoShop elements and features like themed stickers and collages and connect via Bluetooth.
It is only compatible with iPhone devices.
19. A media streamer that transforms a normal TV into a smart one
Most college students aren’t spending their little income on a monthly payment to cable. This streaming player is, overall, the best one you can buy, as it transforms an ordinary TV into one that can stream shows and movies from Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, Prime Video, and others all in one spot.
20. Facial cleansers for a clean and effective routine
Facial cleansers like Luna 2 gently and effectively cleans your skink and face with thin, antimicrobial silicone touch points, and it removes 98.5% of dirt and makeup residue without irritating the skin. Plus, it’s 100% waterproof and the battery life lasts for a few months per charge. Both gender can use it.
21. The Comfy shoes
Startup Allbirds makes wildly popular shoes out of soft, sustainable materials. Their Runners made of super-soft merino wool have been nicknamed “the world’s most comfortable shoes.”
22. A portable projector
Anker’s Nebula Capsule is a powerful and versatile mini projector, and its portability makes it a great option for college students who want a cozy movie-viewing experience in the comfort of their own room. It’s 1 pound and the size of a soda can, but it has the surprisingly crisp image quality and 360-degree sound. It’s also quiet and has a continuous playtime of four hours.
23. College merchandise for school spirit
Particularly if they are going to a school with a big sports team, you can be sure they will both need and appreciate all the fan gear.
24. A funny but useful book full of expert and student advice.
For everything from sharing a bathroom with 40 strangers to social network do’s and don’ts, this funny but useful New York Times bestseller runs the length. As college freshmen, they will learn everything from finances to relationships and dorm life
25. A monthly subscription of personalized new makeup, haircare, and skincare samples delivered to their door
College students like to look and feel good, but small budgets aren’t helpful to trying a lot of new, and often expensive grooming products. Birchbox sends samples of new and beloved products once a month, so they can test out new finds and discover products they may want to buy a full size of in the future. It is also just fun to get a monthly gift that’s all about them.
26. A savvy suitcase for traveling
Away’s hyper-popular suitcases deserve their hype. Their hard shell is lightweight but durable, their 360-degree spinner wheels make for seamless traveling, and the external and ejectable and TSA-compliant battery pack included can charge a phone five times over so they never have to sit behind a trash can at the airport for access to an outlet again. It’s also guaranteed for life by Away.
27. An Amazon Prime membership
An Amazon Prime membership is one of those things that weirdly make life easier and ultimately better. If you decide to gift one, the recipient will enjoy free two-day shipping; access to the Prime Now app, which provides free two-hour delivery on tens of thousands of items; Prime Video, Amazon’s streaming video service; Prime Music; the Kindle Lending Library; Prime Reading; Prime Audible Channels; unlimited photo storage, and more.
28. Framed memories
Help them honor some of their best memories — whether it’s from friends now studying across the country, family, or best-loved locations. Framebridge is relatively affordable and it can make their home a much more inviting, happy place.
29. The best pillow you can buy
To ensure they are optimizing their sleep with the best pillow you can buy. Thanks to the shredded memory foam, they will get the support and comfortable “sinking in” sleep sensation of a traditional memory foam pillow, but none of the excessive heat or firmness that can be a problem with solid foam.
30. A custom poster of their favorite place
Memorialize their college town, hometown, or favorite place in the world with this customizable graphic map so they can keep it with them wherever life takes them.
31. An extra-long, reinforced phone charger
If they are going to be tied to devices, you may as well give them a long leash. This long charging cable means no matter where one is, they will have power and they won’t have to sit at the foot of their bed to reach it. I remember having one and I really liked it, because I could lie on my bed comfortably with a socket 4 feet away from me without needing to come closer. I still buy long chargers.
32. A microwave-safe ramen cooker
There will be plenty of late nights filled with cheap and tasty ramen. If they are going to eat it anyway, at least let them make it quickly and perfectly every time in the comfort of their dorm.
33. Gift cards
What a stressed, broke college student needs most is money. If you are looking for a way to gift maximum convenience, gift cards are a surprisingly thoughtful way to do that — either for their favorite restaurant, transportation, school books, or music to keep them occupied during long study hours.
Nobody needs money like college students and weirdly enough, no amount is enough as they are constantly using their funds for something useful such as buying handouts, paying fees, and a lot of other things. A little fund from you in an envelope like grandma does will be appreciated.
Every College Student needs a noise-canceling headset that will help them shut out the noise when they study or act as a mood booster when they are listening to their favorite music. A headset or earpiece may look insignificant but it is a useful everyday tool to college freshmen.
No, not the kind you are thinking of. I’m talking of vitamins, pain killers, and more vitamins. College can be stressful most times, a bag of healthy recommended drugs from a doctor will be helpful to keep college students on their toes to face their tough curriculum. Though, your gift might or rather will not be liked, so it’s best to combine it with other gifts. But trust me when they are down(and they will be), they will be glad that you packed them extra bags of vitamins or pain killers.
37. Power Bank
Every college student needs this. Not everywhere will have a socket for them to plug their smartphone when low. A power bank helps them charge their phone wherever and whenever, even in class. So yeah, this is one good gift to give a college freshman.
38. A Laptop
This might be more expensive than most gift ideas on this list. But a laptop will be useful to anyone, especially a college student. Getting a college freshman a brand new laptop that has great specs will surely put a huge smile on his or her face.
39. A charging station
It can be quite annoying to carry multiple chargers for each device. A charging station fixes this problem. Charge your AirPods, iPhone, apple watch on one large charging spot. Really great, if the dorm room your college freshman will stay in doesn’t have enough outlet.
40. Accessories Bag
Don’t you hate it when your earpiece wire, your laptop charger, Airpod charger just get tangled up and you now have to spend time untangling them. With this bag, such a thing won’t happen. You might not see the use of it but trust me any college freshman will thank you for this. And if the bag you happen to get is waterproof, it will make it perfect.
Useful when it’s light out or for studying late at night without disturbing the whole room.
You never know when you might need to scan something to someone. Like an assignment to a professor. This tool will come in handy in a college setting.
43. First Aid Kit
Weird thing to give a college freshman, I know. But it’s life and you never know whom that first aid kit might just save. In a best-case scenario, it never gets used.
Just like with drugs, it’s best you combine this with other gifts. College freshmen won’t like it as a standalone gift such as a Laptop but they will be glad they have it if unfortunately, the time does come to use it.
44. Customized products
Have Fun, Be Safe, Make Good Choices, and Call Your Mom Love You Keychain for New Driver Cute Daughter Son Keychain Birthday.
I decided to put this on the list for all parents. A gentle subtle reminder to let your kid or kids know that if they ever feel alone, home is just one phone call away. This could be customized on anything. A keychain, mug, plates, cups, anything.
Another thing that sound weirds, but might needed, especially for boys. A small portable clipper will do.
I didn’t know what to call these, so I just called them the essentials. Basically, it’s a box or bag of everything you think they might need. Soap, detergent, toothpaste, body cream, deodorant, and so on. It helps by eliminating the need for college students or in your case college freshman to think of this. I know it helped me a lot when I was in college.
47. Breakfast Sandwich Maker
Everyone should eat breakfast in the morning. With the breakfast sandwich maker, you can have breakfast easily and quickly before going to class. A solution that makes you both happy! Get it here.
48. Heated Gloves
Whether your student is walking to class, cleaning snow off the car, or waiting for the bus, heated gloves will keep their hands warm.
49. Personal Humidifier
Dorm rooms can get dry in the winter months. Consider a personal-sized humidifier to help make the air more comfortable.
50. Tiny Stapler
This idea for a gift may seem silly, but it could be the one thing that makes your student a favorite with professors. Students still hand in hard-copy assignments, not everything is digital. And most professors prefer stapled pages. A small stapler that can live in a backpack or purse could be a life-saver!
51. Freedom Journal – Goal Planner and Time Management Journal
Two of the most important characteristics of successful students are having goals and managing their time. This journal will help your student do both. Unlike traditional planners that just provide a calendar, this journal helps your students plan goals and keep track of progress. Get it here!
52. Coffee machine
Whether it’s hot coffee, cocoa, tea, cider or other options, this allows your student to make that quick individual beverage early in the morning or late at night during those long study sessions when a trip to the campus snack bar or local coffee shop isn’t an option.
53. Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffuser Aromatherapy
When you and a roommate spend a lot of time in a small dorm room, it can begin to feel and smell a little close. This diffuser may help clear the air. Aromatherapy can also be relaxing and may be able to help your student feel less stressed. Get one here!
54. Roadside Assistance Kit
A weird gift, I know, but can be useful and practical. If your student has a car, you will feel more secure if they are ready for emergencies.
55. Sunlight Desk Lamp
This lamp mirrors natural light which is better for reading and better for health. This natural sunlight lamp may help improve well-being during those long, dark months of winter. Get it here!
56. External Hard Drive
Encourage your student to be prepared to save those important college papers in more than one place. They can easily drag and drop files onto this hard drive and have everything backed up. Plus it’s mobile, so no need of carrying a heavy laptop wherever they go.
57. Fitness band
Whether or not your student decides to get fit, they may have fun with a fitness band. They can wear it and count steps and calories. It will even remind them to take a walk instead of an uber.
58. Computer Lap desk
As practical as their desks might be, that is often not where students do their work. I mostly do all my writing on a sofa or a bed. If your student works from a chair, sofa, or bed, they will appreciate this computer lap desk to make their work go more smoothly. Get one here!
59. High-Quality Folder
If your student is getting close to graduation, help them prepare for those job interviews with a nice-looking leather folder in which to carry their resume, contact information, and a pad to take notes. Help your student get a head start on looking polished and professional. Get one here!
60. Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 Instant Camera
Yes, we all take photos with our phones. But it’s much more fun to be able to print out the photo right away? This generation deserves that much fun! Not everything needs to be digital. Get one here!
61. Room Air Purifier
Every dorm room needs its air purified. Deals with airborne particles such as smoke, dust, pollen, bacteria, viruses.
62. Underbed Storage Bags
There is never enough storage in a dorm room. These bags help your student make use of often neglected space. Get one here!
63. Smartphone Stand Holder
We are all busy supporting our phones and tablets for those many Zoom classes and meetings. This desktop stand holds the device so you have hands free for notetaking, etc. Get one here
64. Life Hacks 2022 Day-to-Day Calendar
Life hacks are tips, tricks, and shortcuts that solve common problems, increase efficiency and improve ordinary tasks at home, work, school, and on the go. This calendar includes new and favorite hacks on subjects such as food and drink, technology, wellness, interviewing, and saving money, and time. As a bonus, the back of each page includes Daily Extra content such as puzzles, jokes, lists, quotes, tips, and trivia. Get one here!
65. Scanmarker Air
Taking and sharing notes has never been so easy! With just a slide of this scanning pen, notes go from paper to screen instantly. If this isn’t efficient studying, I don’t know what is. Get it here!
66. Office Accessories Organizer
A clutter-free space equals a clutter-free mind. Get it here!
67. Portable Shower Caddy
This shower caddy keeps their toiletries organized in a hanging bag, so none of the products get lost. Get it here!
68. PhoneSoap Smartphone Sanitizer
After you wash your hands for 60 seconds, give your phone the same treatment. Get it here!
69. Personal Time Capsule
Your student and college friends can have fun putting together a time capsule of their college years. Wherever they choose to bury or hide it, they can return to enjoy their memories 5, 10, or 25 years from now.
One gift you could give a college student is the gift of your time. It doesn’t have to be money all the time, though money helps but a call to check up on them, will be appreciated, a listening hear to hear their problems will be treasured. And a visit to them will bring a smile, and they will know that they have people supporting them making their dreams.