High School Graduation Gift Guide

High School Graduation Gift Guide

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When high school ends, the future begins. Like shooting stars, our grads are heading in all directions — college, employment, gap years, travel. Whether you want to help them be comfy on campus, or just look sharp in the real world, here are our very best high school graduation gift ideas.

Monogrammed towels

This is the #1 gift idea recommended by the parents and students we surveyed. There are lots of luxurious, colorful options on LL Bean, Land’s End, etc.

Robe or spa wrap

spa wrap - Best high school graduation gifts from parents

A fluffy robe or spa wrap is perfect for trips to the residence hall bathroom. Check out the pretty choices on Bella il Fiore.

Laundry bag

Make it a fun style with their name or monogram and this practical item can brighten up a corner of the dorm room. Go all the way and stuff it with laundry essentials! Bed Bath & Beyond has many choices.

Something personalized

Picture frames, throw blankets, storage items… Create a one-of- a-kind gift with the help of vendors like Mark and Graham or Personalizationmall.com.

Leather catchall

Leather catchall Best high school graduation gifts from parents

A leather catchall (from Pottery Barn and others) can be monogrammed and is an elegant way to organize odds and ends on a desktop. They’ll still be using this after graduation!

A planner

The old-fashioned approach to keeping track of schoolwork, and life, is back in vogue. Find something gorgeous and unique at shops like Two Hands Paperie. 

Gift cards

Your grad will be excited about a gift card to their new college bookstore or a restaurant or shop in town. Fast food and grocery card gift cards are also highly appreciated!

Monogrammed stationery

stationary Best high school graduation gifts from parents

Monogrammed stationery for thank-you notes and staying in touch from afar. Lots of unique choices on Etsy, and at Minted.

Classic favorites

  • New luggage, overnight duffel (monogram it!) or gym bag
  • Scarf or throw blanket in the college colors
  • Laptop with a protective case and backup hard drive
  • New bed linens — X-long twin if they’ll live on-campus. Consider including a comfy, allergen-barrier mattress pad.

Latitude & longitude charms

charm - Best high school graduation gifts from parents

Latitude & longitude charms for bracelet, necklace, keychain are a reminder of where home will always be. Lots of hand-stamped choices in Etsy or check out the collection at Lat & Lo.

New backpack or messenger bag

Something more sophisticated than they carried throughout high school.

Monogrammed belt buckle

belt buckle - Best high school graduation gifts from parents

It doesn’t have to be Tiffany’s, but theirs is a classic. Your grad will feel like the “cat’s pajamas” (says one parent whose son’s belt buckle from a beloved aunt was his favorite gift).

Sewing kit, tool kit or “College Survival Kit”

Put together a hand-picked collection of whatever little practical things your favorite grad might need (Post-it notes, a writing style guide, first aid supplies, a cute mug, gift cards, etc.). Consider tucking inside a little journal you’ve filled with quotes, bits of advice, photos, poetry —personal inspiration they can page through whenever they need a reminder that you’re rooting for them.


For more than a decade, our print and digital resources have connected parents and families to their student's experience, providing the insider information you need and want. All our products — classic and new, print and online — are inspired by our commitment to answering your questions and strengthening relationships between families, students and campus/community resources.

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