The Best Gifts for College Students

College students are notoriously broke and in need of everything. Many are wearing backpacks that have long since fallen apart, using pencils that hardly work, and reading books they just happened to find in the $5 bin. But, if you thought this would make finding a gift for the college student in your life easy, think again. With so many possibilities, it can be tough to find the best gift. Plus, do you know how many backpacks and pencils are out there? It’s nearly impossible to sort through which ones are the best for college students.

To help you really make an impact this year, we’ve sorted out the 25 best gift options for college students. These range from books to snacks to accessories; you’re sure to find the perfect gift for your college student on this list. Check out our lists of the best gifts for musicians, the best gifts for teens, and the best stocking stuffer ideas for more great gift ideas.

Budget Gifts for College Students

1. Brimma Vacuum Insulated Water Bottle

Brimma Vacuum Insulated Water Bottle

Every college student needs a high-quality, insulated water bottle. The college student in your life is probably on the go all day. In between classes, work, and studying, it is nearly impossible to find a time to run back home and get a drink. This leads to many college students purchasing beverages from vending machines and campus restaurants. On top of costing absurd amounts of money, these locations are full of unhealthy beverage choices. Gift your college student the convenience of a well-designed water bottle. For other great water bottle choices, you can see our best water bottle guide here.

Key Features:

  • Vacuum insulated
  • Stainless steel
  • Compact
  • Eco-friendly

Cost: $9

2. Colored Sticky Note Set And Organizer

Colored Sticky Note Set And Organizer

College students go through a lot of sticky notes no matter their major. They can be used for everything from note taking to pre-editing essays to keeping track of assignments. But, sticky notes are also notoriously hard to keep up with. They get lost in the bottom of backpacks and crammed underneath beds, never to be seen again. Gift your college student with a set of sticky notes they won’t lose with this compact, sticky notes organizer.

Key Features:

  • Includes one pad of yellow square sticky notes and five index arrow flag sticky notes
  • Refillable
  • Neat, compact, and slim
  • Harder to lose than unsecured sticky notes!

Cost: $7

3. Coquimbo Mini Sewing Kit

Coquimbo Mini Sewing Kit

Many college students have to stretch everything they own. They don’t have the disposable income to go out and buy a new backpack when their strap breaks or a new pair of pants once a hole develops. Instead, lots of college students choose to repair their damaged belongings. To help them on this quest, gift them this mini sewing kit. It has all the necessary tool to make simple repairs but is also extremely easy to store – great for a small dorm room.

Key Features:

  • Contains all necessary tools for basic repairs
  • Items stay secure in the case
  • Compact
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee

Cost: $8

4. Getting the Best Out of College

Getting the Best Out of College

It would probably be safe to assume that any college student is attending college to at least attempt to learn something. But, with the rat race of exams, essays, and pop quizzes, it can be easy for college students to forget to focus on actually learning something. This book explains how to take advantage of all a college has to offer not only to learn something but also get a head start on your career and your life.

Key Features:

  • Raving reviews
  • 304 pages

Cost: $10

5. Inspirational Necklace Pendant by iWenSheng

Inspirational Necklace Pendant by iWenSheng

Every college student needs a little inspiration now and then, especially in the middle of finals or before a tough test. When you’re struggling with grades and homework, it can be tough to remember to take a moment to breathe. Give your college student the gift of a pick-me-up with this inspirational pendant. Now, they’ll have a constant reminder that they can get that ten-page paper done before tomorrow morning and conquer their finals without drinking that tenth cup of coffee.

Key Features:

  • Stainless Steel
  • Comes with a Jewelry Bag
  • Attachable to a variety of chains and cords

Cost: $9

6. Recipes Every College Student Should Know

Recipes Every College Student Should Know

It can be incredibly hard to cook in a dorm, especially when you’re trying to make it to class in ten minutes or cramming for an exam. College students don’t have much time to cook, which is why many of them live off of dried noodles and cheap fast food. Equip the college student in your life with the knowledge to make fast, healthy meals and snacks with this highly-reviewed book. No longer will they have to choose between finally eating something that isn’t frozen and getting to class on time.

Key Features:

  • Recipes for making quick breakfasts, backpack-friendly lunches, study break snacks, and more.
  • Explains basic cooking tools, nutrition, and safety tips for new dorm-room chefs
  • Comes with a budgeting guide to help a college student make the most of their meals

Cost: $9

Mid-Range Gifts for College Students

7. Activ Life Best Kid’s Frisbee Rings

Activ Life Best Kid's Frisbee Rings

College students need to stay active just like everyone else. With this gift, they can fill the time between classes with a quick game of frisbee. These frisbees are easy to catch and throw, making them a great gift for even new frisbee players.

Key Features:

  • Anytime, anywhere active fun
  • Portable
  • Great for a quick game

Cost: $13

8. Keep Calm and Study On Mug

Keep Calm and Study On Mug

It isn’t uncommon for college students to drink a lot of coffee. Between exams, essays, and friends, coffee might be necessary to get to class on time. So, get your college student this stylish mug for them to drink their coffee out of while they’re cramming for finals.

Key Features:

  • Quote printed on both sides
  • Humorous design
  • White

Cost: $13

9. LED Photo Clips String Lights

LED Photo Clips String Lights

Decorating a dorm room can be difficult. You don’t have much room to work with; it can be incredibly difficult to fit in all the necessities and still find room for any decorations. Plus, leaving home and attending college can leave many college students homesick. You can conquer both of these problems with this ingenious product. It easily attaches to any wall, lights up, and holds lots of pictures, giving college students an easy way to decorate and remember home.

Key Features:

  • 16 clear plastic LED clips
  • Battery operated
  • Durable

Cost: $16

10. Personal Alarm Keychain

Personal Alarm Keychain

Though we might not want to admit it, college can sometimes be dangerous. College freshmen have probably never been away for extended periods by themselves. Many college classes take place at night and campuses can be dark after the sun goes down. Don’t let your college student leave home without this simple put effective alarm keychain. If anything was to happen, all they have to do is press a button and the keychain with play a loud, sharp ringing sound, getting the attention of those nearby.

Key Features:

  • Discrete
  • Simple but effective
  • Portable
  • Very loud

Cost: $12

11. Savvy Infusion Water Bottles

Savvy Infusion Water Bottles

When you’re constantly rushing from class to class, it can be difficult to eat healthily. Most college students likely do not get the nutrients they need between the ramen noodles they eat for breakfast and the Chinese takeout they eat for dinner. This gift lets them be a little healthy by trading in their soda for fruit infused water.

Key Features:

  • Two size options
  • Perfectly sized to fit cup holders
  • Easy to use
  • Comes with a book of infusion recipes

Cost: $14

12. The Starving Students’ Cookbook

The Starving Students’ Cookbook

This easy to follow the book of inexpensive recipes is a great gift for any college student. Many college students do not have the time or money to cook gourmet meals every night, but this does not mean that they don’t have time to cook at all. With this recipe book, even a reluctant chef can find their way in the kitchen and make mouthwatering dishes.

Key Features:

  • Illustrations
  • Cooking tips
  • Nutritional and health information

Cost: $12

13. UNIQUE HM&LN Genuine Leather Journal Notebook

UNIQUE HM&LN Genuine Leather Journal Notebook

Many college students enjoy journaling and doodling in between classes. Having a beautiful journal can be a great way to keep up with professor emails, upcoming assignments, and schedules. When you have a lot to juggle like most college students, having a place to keep everything is indispensable. This journal is refillable and is a great fit for a nice fountain pen.

Key Features:

  • Refillable
  • Passport size
  • Leather
  • Handcrafted

Cost: $17

14. Variety Snack Care Package

Variety Snack Care Package

Nothing excites a college student as much as food. For one, most college students are usually running very low on money and have to budget their spending carefully. This means that they cannot splurge on a whole bunch of junk food. Secondly, college students don’t have time to run to the store and shop. Most of their food comes from microwavable meals or fast-food restaurants. This variety snack care package, then, can provide a much need breath of fresh air for the college student in your life.

Key Features:

  • 40 individually wrapped snacks
  • A large variety of snacks
  • Expertly packaged

Cost: $20

15. Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School?

Why Didn't They Teach Me This in School?

College students usually have a notoriously low income. To meet all their needs and get to class on time, they need to budget ruthlessly and stay on top of their finances. But, many colleges students don’t know how to do this. This leads to them not taking care of their funds as they should, opening up pathways to trouble during and after college. Gift this highly-reviewed book and give the college student in your life the knowledge they need to keep their finances healthy.

Key Features:

  • Eight main lessons
  • Teaches 99 financial principles

Cost: $14

High-End Gifts for College Students

16. Canvas Laundry Bag

Canvas Laundry Bag

All college students have to do laundry in a communal laundry room. This means that they will have to somehow transport their laundry down from their dorm room to wherever the washers and dryers are located. This is a lot easier said than done, especially when you consider how far away the laundry room can be. No one wants to parade their laundry through the halls, so get your college student this canvas laundry bag, providing both functionality and privacy.

Key Features:

  • Heavy duty
  • Cotton
  • Reliable shoulder strap
  • Drawcord for closure

Cost: $24

17. CraveBox Snack Box

CraveBox Snack Box

This gift is very similar to our other snack box suggestion but has a different variety of snacks that might be more suitable for the particular person you’re buying the gift for. We recommend looking at both snack boxes and deciding which one your college student would prefer. Of course, most college students will appreciate getting any food at all. So, don’t stress too much about the decision!

Key Features:

  • Salty and sweet snacks
  • Brand name products
  • Compact

Cost: $21

18. Healthy College Care Package

Healthy College Care Package

It is challenging to find healthy, portable snacks. Many healthy snacks require a refrigerator, which a college student might not have, or are impossible to transport easily. Most college students need healthy snacks they can throw in their bag as they’re rushing out the door for class, and this snack pack provides just that. With 30 healthy snacks, this is the perfect gift for any busy college student.

Key Features:

  • 30 snacks included
  • Variety of healthy snacks

Cost: $24

19. Happy Times Hammock Shop

Happy Times Hammock Shop

It might seem strange, but many college students hang out in hammocks in between classes. If you only have a short wait before a class starts, it can be futile to trek all the way across campus to the dorm. Instead, many students choose to set up a hammock and spend their time studying or relaxing in between class. These hammocks, though, are somewhat expensive and out of many student’s price range. Gifting one is always a great idea.

Key Features:

  • Tree strap bundle included
  • Durable
  • Versatile
  • Compact

Cost: $75

20. LapGear MyDask Lap Desk

LapGear MyDask Lap Desk

Doing homework can be hard if you don’t have anything to write on. But, most college dorm rooms are far too small for a desk and a bed. Help the college student in your life overcome this problem by gifting them this lap desk. Now they can lounge on their bed and do homework.

Key Features:

  • Built-in handle
  • Fleece cushion for comfort
  • Two built-in storage compartments

Cost: $19

21. LAGHCAT Big Mermaid Tail Blanket

LAGHCAT Big Mermaid Tail Blanket

What college student doesn’t want to curl up after a long day of classes in a mermaid tail? This product comes with a warm, adult-sized mermaid tail blanket, silver mermaid necklace, and a bag for easy transportation.

Key Features:

  • Crochet design
  • Three items included
  • Orlon and cotton

Cost: $29

22. Leaper Vintage Laptop Backpack

Leaper Vintage Laptop Backpack

With all the hustle-and-bustle of college, backpacks wear down very fast. Most college students use their bag from the moment they wake up to the second they lay down at night. They are used to transfer everything from books and class materials to clothes to lunches. If it needs to be carried, it is probably going in the backpack. A backpack is always a great gift for a college student, especially a stylish and versatile one like this.

Key Features:

  • High-quality canvas construction
  • Lots of pockets
  • Variety of colors available
  • Comfortable strap design

Cost: $33

23. Sumsunshine Laptop Backpack

Sumsunshine Laptop Backpack

It is nearly impossible to attend college these days without a strong, high-quality computer. Usually backpacks, though, do not have a way to transport most decent sized computers safely. Without a way to get the computer to and from class safely, there is a risk of breaking it or even losing it. Because of this, it is necessary to have a durable and functional computer bag. This product provides just that. It has a combination lock to prevent theft, a hole to accommodate headphones, and a padded back panel for extra comfort.

Key Features:

  • Dual interface
  • Combination lock
  • 10+ functional pockets
  • Waterproof

Cost: $38

24. The Freshman Survival Guide

The Freshman Survival Guide

If you know a college freshman, you should consider purchasing them this book. It contains everything a freshman needs to know about “studying, socializing, and everything in between.” It truly is a must-have guide for any freshman looking to get the most out of their college years.

Key Features:

  • Revised and updated
  • Practical tools for success
  • Advice on tough issues like mental health, sexual assault, and stress

Cost: $11

25. Vere Gloria Messenger Bag

Vere Gloria Messenger Bag

Depending on their major and course load, some college students might not need that large of a bag. This is particularly true for upperclassmen, who are usually taking more specialized classes that don’t have many books. Lugging around a big bag that you don’t need can be frightful. If this sounds like the college student in your life, you might want to look into purchasing them this small messenger bag. It has enough room to hold a small book or two but won’t be extremely bulky.

Key Features:

  • Smaller size
  • Thick cotton canvas
  • Stylish
  • Multi-functional

Cost: $26

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Kristin Hitchcock