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Top Gift Ideas for Graduates

By Lisa Freedland

Lisa Freedland is a Scholarships360 writer with personal experience in psychological research and content writing. She has written content for an online fact-checking organization and has conducted research at the University of Southern California as well as the University of California, Irvine. Lisa graduated from the University of Southern California in Fall 2021 with a degree in Psychology.

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Edited by Maria Geiger

Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Updated: March 21st, 2024
Top Gift Ideas for Graduates

Graduating college is a huge milestone for many. Not only did it take many hours of hard work, long nights, and maybe even tears at times, but it is also a signifier of the closing of one chapter of your life, and the opening of another. Thus, a college graduation is definitely something to celebrate. If you’re looking for some great graduation gifts for that recent college grad, keep on reading!

Weighted blanket

After graduating, any student will likely want to take some time to rest and relax. For such students, a weighted blanket will help them do just that! Many claim that weighted blankets offer them a sense of calmness, allowing them to sink into their beds and relax. Further, its claimed meditative qualities will be of great help to calm students during their post-graduation job hunts. Our recommendation for weighted blankets? Remember to find one that matches your college grad’s body weight. For example, a 15 lb. blanket for someone weighing 140 lbs., a 17 lb. blanket for another weighing 160 lbs., and so on.

A spa day

Another great option to help your college grad relax? An all-expenses-paid spa day! This way, they’ll be able to enjoy the spa and destress all while doing some self-care. And, after their many years of hard work, homework, and more in college – they will be sure to appreciate your kindness.

Plane ticket

While some may want to enjoy their post-graduation time by relaxing and enjoying the serenity of having no homework and a freer schedule, others may still want to be on-the-move. If this sounds like your college grad (and they love to travel), then consider buying them a plane ticket (preferably to somewhere they’ve expressed interest in visiting)! Before you buy it, though, we might recommend making sure they don’t have any pre-existing plans lined up during that time. Bon voyage!

A new laptop

College is a long process, typically taking anywhere between three and five years to complete. During that time, many students use the same laptop all the way through college.  So, if you’re looking to splurge on a gift, and want to give your college grad something very practical, consider a new laptop! They’ll surely appreciate the gesture and will likely use the device for years to come.

Custom photo or wall art

For the sentimental college grad, consider gifting them custom photo or wall art. You can create a collage of their college photos, pictures of them with their dearest friends, or with anyone they hold dear (including you!). The grad who’s looking to move into their own apartment or home will likely need help filling up their walls. Custom wall art can be shipped directly to you or the grad. Websites like Shutterfly, Minted, and Zazzle are all popular.

Scented candles (to remind them of their college, or home!)

Sentimental grad are scented candles to remind them of their college (or home) state. Homesick is a candle company offering a wide variety of candles. The candles mimic the smells of specific regions throughout the U.S. For those who especially miss college or home (if they’re moving away), getting them a candle that reminds them of some of their precious memories may be a great choice.

Coffee maker

Graduating college means that you can no longer schedule your first classes of the day at 10 or 11 AM. Former students might need to wake up earlier than they have been for the past few years. For many, coffee helps them get through the day, especially if they have to wake up early. If your college grad drinks coffee, consider getting them a coffee maker! Not only will you be helping them get through the day, but you’ll be saving them lots of money. If you’re considering a coffee maker, a coffee tumbler may be a great gift as well. These are reusable, closable, cup-like containers that will maintain their coffee’s temperature. Grads can bring their coffee out the door with them too.

A meal delivery service subscription

For the college grad who largely relied on their university’s dining hall or simply doesn’t have much experience cooking, a meal delivery service subscription could be an amazing and thoughtful gift. Such subscriptions typically send a meal’s ingredients directly to one’s address, with instructions included, so students can easily make a meal all the while learning how to cook.


For the college grad who’s a little more kitchen-savvy, consider buying them some kitchenware! These gifts will be incredibly helpful, especially if your grad is moving into their own place soon. Whether you give an air fryer, a panini maker, or some new plates, kitchenware will remind grads of you whenever they’re cooking up their next meal. 


For the book-worm grad in your life, or for the grad you think should read a bit more, consider getting them some books. Whether it’s a book they’ve mentioned being interested in, one of your personal favorite books, or even a book to help them prepare for their next stage of their life, you’ll have many to choose from. Hopefully with some extra leisure time after graduating from college, they’ll be able to indulge! Either way, getting lost in the story or narrative of a book can be a calming escape from the pressures of real life that some may find quite difficult after graduating.

A Kindle subscription

Now, for your college grad who REALLY loves books, we might suggest getting them a Kindle subscription. Although physical books are nice to hold, and even display in your house, they can be quite pricey when added up. Kindle Unlimited, however, solves this problem – offering subscribers access to unlimited e-books. Better yet, you do not need an e-reader to access the books! Your college grad will be able to read all the books their heart desires straight from their smartphone, for just $9.99 a month.

A new journal, diary, or scrapbook

Perhaps, your college grad is the more-sentimental type who likes to document their life in one way or another. If this sounds like them, consider getting them a new journal, diary, or scrapbook. This will allow them to document their new and exciting experiences, personal developments, or anything else of the sort. Graduates will be able to enjoy looking back at their old thoughts and memories years down the road too!


Taking photos or filming your experiences is also a great way to capture some memories. So, if your college grad is particularly interested in photography, film-making, or anything else of the sort, a camera might just be the perfect gift. With their newfound post-graduation leisure time, new grads will be able to perfect their craft. Down the line, their skills may even be able to provide them a secondary income, or become their full-time career!


On the topic of technology, Airpods may also be a great gift for your college grad. Airpods are especially handy for those who like to listen to music, podcasts, or anything else while on the move. This is because they are wireless and do not have to be connected to a device in order to hear the sounds coming from it, but rather work through Bluetooth. So, with Airpods, your college grad will be able to freely move around. They can go on a jog or even hiking without their earphones’ wires being pulled from their ears. 

Customized Jewelry

Jewelry may seem like an obvious option, especially for women, but that does not discount how beloved jewelry pieces can become if given to someone from a special person in their life. This is especially true for customized jewelry, as these show how much you know someone and the amount of thought you’ve put into the gift. While pieces of customized jewelry can include anything from a simple necklace with their initials on it, to a locket holding a picture of someone important to them, it’s really up to you as to how you decide to customize it. Alternatively, if you can’t decide how to customize a piece of jewelry, you can also simply pick from the many beautiful non-customized jewelry pieces out there. Your college grad will likely love it all the same.

A handbag or briefcase

For many, graduating college involves soon starting that post-graduation job search. If this sounds like your college grad, consider getting them a new handbag or briefcase. This way, if they have to commute to work, they’ll have an easy, accessible place to store and carry around all their belongings. Also, their new bag will not only be useful at work, but outside of it as well. Bags are always a great staple to have, and are useful too.

A wallet

As you get older, you slowly start to accumulate more cards, whether these be credit, loyalty, healthcare, or any other type of card. This is likely true of your college grad as well. They may be stuck with the same old wallet from freshman year of college, or even high school. So, to house all the new things that they’ll certainly have to fit somewhere, consider getting your college grad a new wallet. While this may seem like a simple gift, it is certainly useful. You can even search for one that seems to match the personality or tastes of your new college grad – have fun with it!


A vacuum is a must for anyone moving into a new apartment or home soon. So, if this is the case for your college grad, definitely consider buying them a vacuum! Unless they have one from home or from their college apartment or dorm, it’s likely they don’t have one of their own. By getting them one, you’ll be doing them a favor! They will later realize the importance of having one around and have to buy one themselves. Further, having a clean home is one less thing they’ll have to worry about as they go forward with a new chapter in their life. 

A calendar or planner

While some may think that calendars or planners are only useful while one is in school, this is certainly not the case. Even after you graduate, they are a great tool for keeping track of one’s responsibilities and other activities. So, if you’re looking for a simpler, but practical gift for your college grad, they’ll surely find use in a calendar or planner of your choosing.

Gift Cards

Last but not least, are gift cards! If you’re simply not sure what to get your college grad, you can never go wrong with gift cards. Whether to Target, Sephora, Amazon, or a local boutique or coffee shop in their town, a gift card will surely be appreciated and put to use. We simply recommend making sure your gift card is to somewhere your college grad regularly frequents. 

With that, we’re done! We hope this list has helped you think of what gift to get that college grad in your life. Whatever you end up getting, we hope they love it. Happy graduation!

What’s next?

As a recent grad, the person you’re shopping for might be looking into graduate school opportunities or looking for their first post-grad job. Here are some resources that can help them make the transition into the next phase of their lives:

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