Buying gifts for college students – or a college-bound senior in high school – can seem daunting at first. Your first thoughts will be of helping them decorate their dorm room. Then it will turn into giving them some spending money. And while those are great ideas, being on campus with them might give you a better perspective. 

The best gifts for college students are those that they actually USE on a daily basis. And what is it that college students DO on a daily basis (or at least are supposed to)? Besides Ramen noodles and a cute sheet set, here are 4 GREAT gifts to give a college student that they actually NEED. 


4 Great Gifts for College Students 


1. External Hard Drive 

Trust us, college comes with A LOT of papers. Syllabi, class notes, projects, exam study sheets, and on and on. Back in the day, college students kept notebooks and 3-ringed binders for each course they took, but nowadays technology has taken over, and you’ll be hardpressed to find a student in class WITHOUT a laptop. Even if your student likes to handwrite their notes, a great study tool is to later type them up so that they are going back over them before the exam arrives. 

And though your student might have a nice laptop with a big internal drive for storage, they’ll also be taking tons of pictures, making PowerPoint presentations, and more. That’s a lot of gigs that could/will slow that laptop down when your student needs it most. That’s why we suggest buying them a nice external hard drive. They can easily keep their courses organized in folders there, and completely move them off their computer at the end of each semester. 

If you think your student might not want to go the route of having to keep up with something extra like this, though, consider buying them a subscription for Dropbox or Google Drive, so they have plenty of space to store everything they’ll collect during their college years. However, keep in mind that going the Cloud route means they’ll have to pay each year to keep up the subscription in the future. An external hard drive is a one-time deal. 


2. Tablet

Remember the days of waiting in line at the college book store and paying exorbitant amounts of money for textbooks that you barely cracked open? Well, the textbooks are still costly, but now they’re digital! Your student doesn’t have to lug around heavy books anymore and can have them all in the palm of their hand with a convenient tablet, like an iPad or a Kindle. 

They’ll have all their books with them everywhere they go for studying optimization, and they can even underline and highlight passages, bookmarking them for review again later. If you know they’ll be getting a laptop as a gift from someone else, try coordinating with them on the purchase, as several stores offer bundle packs that are well worth looking into


3. Nice Backpack

While students no longer carry around notebooks and textbooks during the day like they used to, they are lugging around an expensive laptop, tablet, and probably a snack or two. A nice backpack is a great gift to get college students, as it’s something they’ll get good use out of. Consider an anti-theft backpack with slots for a cell phone and keys, or a luxurious leather shoulder bag that will last for years. 

If you need help understanding what style of backpack they might like, just take a look at the one they are carrying around now, and find an upgraded version. But also keep in mind that if they plan to ride a bike around campus, a backpack will be more comfortable than a satchel or shoulder bag, unless they have a nice bike basket to store it in (another gift idea!). 


4. Streaming Account

College is about studying and getting an education, yes, but there have to be some study breaks for everyone’s sanity! And most college students are not known for having a lot of extra spending money. Consider buying them a year’s subscription to a streaming channel, such as Netflix or Hulu. You could even just add an additional screen to an account that you already have, and let them share with you as an easy way to keep up the gift over time. 

Another great subscription like this would be Amazon Prime. It comes with a streaming channel similar to Netflix and Hulu with tons of series and movies to watch, but also gives them Amazon Prime delivery for any groceries or purchases they need to make through the website! It is a yearly subscription with a once-a-year fee and can be useful in more than one way for them.


Which Gift Will You Buy?

College is such an exciting time, and these gifts are sure to set up your college student for success. But are you finding that your student is struggling with college applications, or which major/classes to choose? Consider giving them the gift of stress relief with a college and career advisor. We can help with applications to get into college, and how to make the right choices all throughout their college career. Write to us today to get started and give the gift of an organized and well-used college experience!

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