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College Graduation Gift Guide

By CollegiateParent


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College commencement is a once-in-a-lifetime occasion. Naturally you want to show your love, pride and support with a gift that is just right and personal. Let us help you choose something that’s as special as your new college graduate!

Kitchen essentials & appliances

Are they moving into a new apartment? We bet they could use an upgrade on household items. Bright and whimsical or plain and practical, your new grad will love these appliances.

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  • Keurig or espresso machine
  • Instant Pot
  • NutriBullet, blender or juicer
  • Waffle iron
  • Panini maker
  • Wine chiller

Other gift ideas for the kitchen:

  • Themed kitchen gift basket — Fill it with utensils or pans specifically for baking or grilling. Add a cookbook!
  • Gift a certificate for a meal/ingredient delivery service like Blue Apron or HelloFresh.
  • Would they like to sharpen their cooking skills? Buy them a knife set along with a Groupon for a cooking class!

Dress for success

As they prepare to enter the workforce, get your grad something that will be useful in the real world. The will really appreciate these needed items, accessories and clothing.

For women:Business attire graduation gifts for him and her

  • A scarf or special piece of jewelry
  • Professional suits, business-casual dresses and blouses
  • Professional heels or flats
  • Briefcase or work appropriate purse

For men:

  • A wristwatch or cufflinks
  • Ties, suits or professional shoes
  • Briefcase or messenger bag

Other business items and accessories:

  • Gift card to professional clothing store or online style service like Stitch Fix or Trunk Club.
  • New laptop (the one that went to college has probably about had it) along with a stylish protective case or sleeve.
  • Professional luggage for business travel or trips.

Inspiring reads

Someone else is sure to give the grad a copy of Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss, which leaves YOU free to choose something more original.

TED Books Box Set: The Completist — “Small books, big ideas” based on the most popular TED talks, and perfect for the bookcase or nightstand in their new grown-up place.

Help make your daughter's first job count by moving from college-to-career with Careerismo. Written by a diversity recruiter for the Top 50 MBA schools and employers, it's a practical guide to jumpstart a promising career!

The best commencement addresses get made into wonderful little gift books. Three we love: Now Go Out There (and Get Curious) by Mary Karr, Make Good Art by Neil Gaiman (thoughts on creativity, bravery and thinking/living outside the box), and Congratulations by the way: Some Thoughts on Kindness by George Saunders.

Other book ideas:

  • Their very own new hardcover set of favorite books from childhood (Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Little House…).
  • “Advice” books can be playful and entertaining. Grads will appreciate Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar (aka Cheryl Strayed, the author of Wild), Adulting by Kelly Williams Brown (both hilarious and helpful), and Freshman Year of Life — essays from the MindSumo online community of young adult writers who’ve really lived this.
  • A world or U.S. atlas for the coffee table (and maybe a coffee table while you’re at it).
  • Gmorning, Gnight! Little Pep Talks for Me & You by Lin-Manuel Miranda (poetic and inspiring Tweet-length messages from the creator of Hamilton).

Think outside the "go-to cash" gift

  • Are they planning a graduation trip? Gift them your flight points, hotel vouchers or gas money. We have lots of ideas!
  • Provide first month’s rent on their new apartment.
  • Pay their first post-college student loan payment.
  • Stock — Get your new grad excited to learn more about investing and saving for the future.
  • Help finance a car purchase.
  • If they’re moving far away, buy their first flight home for the holidays.

Preserve college memories

  • Diploma frame — See more creative ideas for preserving memories here.
  • Set of college logo coffee mugs, alumni license plate holder, etc.
  • Latitude and longitude charms for bracelet, necklace, keychain — A reminder of the four years spent making memories that will last forever.

In the blink of an eye, you will watch your student walk across the stage and turn their tassel, symbolizing all the hard work they put into college. It took persistence and determination to be where they are. We hope we’ve helped you find the perfect gift to celebrate their accomplishments. Best wishes to your student on the next steps of their life journey!

Congratulations to the class of 2019!

We’re pleased to share this year’s gift guide courtesy of one of our sponsors, Careerismo. We also participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and receive a small fee when purchases are made through links to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. 

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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