12 High School Graduation Gifts for College-Bound Students

by Kelley Crosbie

12 High School Graduation Gifts for College-Bound Students
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In a few weeks, high school students from around the country will be graduating, many of which will be heading to college in the fall. We know many of them did not get the big party and ceremony they were hoping for, but you can still celebrate your grad with a great gift.


If you are fresh out of ideas as to what to get a soon-to-be college kid, we’re here to help you make the grade when it comes to gift-giving. Below is a list of the 12 must-have graduation gifts that will help any college-bound student as they venture into their next chapter of life.


1 of 12 Image Credits: Amazon

Patagonia Black Hole Duffel


Every college kid should come home with some (good) baggage. No matter where your graduate is heading off to college, whether it’s near or far, they will need some luggage to get them from school to home and back again, as well as everywhere in between. Patagonia’s Black Hole Duffel offers a generous 45 liters of space, is extremely weather-resistant, and passes the test of plane carry-on. This hardy bag even features convenient inner and outer pockets as well as removable, padded backpack straps for easier hauling. You never know, it might encourage them to come home more!

2 of 12 Image Credits: Wayfair

Storage Ottoman


Dorms and small spaces seem to go hand-in-hand. Help your graduate get the most out of their campus casa with this convenient folding storage bench. It’s perfect for when you need another spot for seating or someplace to store things. Bonus: This convenient folding storage bench is available in several colors so it’s sure to match whatever the dorm decor may be.

3 of 12 Image Credits: Uncommon Goods

Letters To My Future Self


Graduation is no doubt an exceptional time in a young scholar’s life. Make sure you help them capture their memories, hopes, and dreams in the time capsule, Letters To My Future Self. Meant to be written now and read later, students personally write themselves 12 letters meant to help someday remind them of who they once aspired to be, reflect on how they may have changed or stayed the same over the years, and reminisce about high school graduation—a time when they started the next chapter of their life.

4 of 12 Image Credits: Bed Bath & Beyond

Drawstring Laundry Bag


Doing laundry in college is rarely fun, but it can be efficient if the right equipment is involved. Not only does this drawstring bag feature strong adjustable shoulder straps for lug-free handling, but it also keeps dirty clothes discrete during transport thanks to its sturdy canvas material. Added benefit: It’s also machine washable so you can toss it in with one of the (many) loads of laundry.

5 of 12 Image Credits: Macys

8-Piece Reversible Twin Bedding Ensemble


There’s no place like home, but a cozy and friendly dorm room is a close second. Sized right for that extra-long twin-size dorm bed, this deluxe eight-piece bedroom set will make your grad will feel right at home. Complete with a duvet cover, fitted sheet, flat sheet, blanket, decorative pillow, pillowcase, and even a storage bin, it has everything they will need to call their new space home-sweet-home. A little perk: The bedding ensemble comes with a 4x6-inch picture frame, perfect for framing family and friends.

6 of 12 Image Credits: Macy's

Apple AirPods


From rowdy dorm roommates to loud library neighbors, there are more than enough opportunities for distraction in college. That said, your young scholar will still need to focus, especially when it comes to their studies. Set your grad up with a subscription to their favorite music streaming service and help them find some peace and quiet with Apple AirPods. These exceptional wireless headphones are easily set up, offer superior sound, and can last 5 hours on a single charge. While the Apple AirPods can work with any Bluetooth-enabled device, they reach their full potential when paired with an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, or Mac.

7 of 12 Image Credits: Bed Bath & Beyond

Madison Park Signature Turkish Cotton Bath Towels


Let’s be honest. No soon-to-be grad wants to bring a set of their family’s (likely very used and worn out) bath towels to college. Give the gift that keeps on giving every day with this set of eight towels, which includes two bath towels, two hand towels, two fingertip towels, and two washcloths. You can rest assured, and much like you probably have, your grad will be reusing those towels for years to come.

8 of 12 Image Credits: Bed Bath & Beyond

AquaFlops Women's Slide Shower Shoes


If you shudder at the thought of your grad stepping onto the dorm shower floor, fear not. You can keep your graduate’s bare feet safe from all that lurks in the community showers with the help of the right sandals. The Showaflops shower sandals are unique because they feature drainage holes in the soles of the shoes. This aspect promotes better drainage which leads to a safer, more antimicrobial, quick-drying flip-flop. The Showaflops also come in a variety of colors and styles for both men and women.

9 of 12 Image Credits: Bed Bath & Beyond

Dorm 2-Door Refrigerator and Freezer


Whether your graduate plans to take advantage of the campus meal plan, attempt to cook for themselves, or dig into some fast food on the daily, one thing is for sure; they will need a dorm fridge and freezer. The compact design is perfect for small spaces, such as a dorm room, and the separation of the freezer compartment from the fridge area means frozen foods are kept safely chilled, as intended. The six-can dispenser is handy for those mid-afternoon soda cravings, and the crisper drawer is perfect to keep healthy veggies. From leftover takeout and leafy greens to frozen food and that emergencies-only container of ice cream, a dorm fridge is no doubt a must-have for your soon-to-be college student.

10 of 12 Image Credits: Amazon

Rapid Ramen Cooker


As much as you try to promote healthy eating habits for your grad, you know the only way they’ll get through those late-night study sessions is with a package (or two, or three) of ramen noodles. Preparing the college student’s food of choice is even easier with the Rapid Ramen Cooker. Dishwasher- and microwave-safe, the perfectly sized pan cooks noodles evenly and quickly. Your high school graduate will appreciate just how useful this gift is when they pull their first all-nighter.

If a straight package of ramen ever gets boring for your college student, share some fresh recipes that call for ramen noodles.

11 of 12 Image Credits: Amazon

Book Stand


Help prevent your college-bound student from developing neck strain by gifting them this handy book stand. The stand is perfect for holding textbooks upright and comes with up to 15 different adjustment levels so they can study with proper posture. The clips make it easy for your student to keep their book open to a certain page, and by propping the book vertically, they’ll have more room on their desk to complete assignments. The versatile book stand also works well for propping open cookbooks or holding music—perfect for when your grad wants to experiment in the kitchen or practice their instrument.

12 of 12 Image Credits: Amazon

Flexible LED Strip Lights


Allow your graduate to customize their dorm room with LED tape lights. The lights are a great solution for spaces that are difficult to illuminate, like your student’s desk under their lofted bed. The adhesive sticks just about anywhere, and the strip lights can be cut to the perfect length. No need to take up precious space with bulky floor lamps or desk lamps; with LED strip lights, your college student can set the ambience for their new room. Plus, they can get creative with different color options. Just remember to include a power source with your gift to the graduate.