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The latest trends and fads change at an incredible pace, and choosing the right gift for a young adult entering college may seem daunting. It's not easy to find a gift that balances what a student needs, wants, and will actually use. To ensure you buy the college-bound person in your life a fun and functional gift, let this list of 50 gift ideas guide you.
Our list contains an assortment of gadgets, study aids, dorm room life hacks, and basic living necessities at a variety of price points. Chances are you'll find something that fits your budget and helps your college student begin their next adventure.
50 College Gift Ideas for Any Occasion
1. Extra-long power cord
For students living in a dorm room, an extra-long power cord may come in handy. The number of outlets near a student's desk, chair, or bed may be limited, so having a long cord means they can charge their devices while keeping them within arm's reach.
2. Portable charger
A portable charger ensures students can study or take notes in the classroom without worrying about their battery charge. This charger contains plugs for all types of devices, including laptops and smartphones. It features a digital screen that shows the charger's battery life, so you can make sure you don't run out of juice before you get home.
This backpack offers both stylish design and functionality. It's water-repellent with large compartments that offer room for a laptop, textbooks, and personal items like a wallet or change of clothes. It may also serve as a phone charger through the USB port if you purchase the optional power bank.
4. Noise-cancelling headphones
Dorm rooms and other public spaces may not always be conducive to studying. Giving your college-bound student a set of noise-cancelling headphones ensures they can shut out distractions when necessary. This pair is wireless with bluetooth capabilities at an affordable price point.
5. Coffee maker
This single-serve coffee maker provides the option to brew K-Cups or use a reusable filter. It also comes with a vacuum-sealed and insulated travel mug, making it easy for you to brew a cup to go for those early morning classes.
6. Amazon Fire TV Stick
The Amazon Fire TV Stick allows students to access all their favorite streaming services through one simple device. It's easy to set up and comes with everything you need. As a bonus, you may consider adding a gift card to popular streaming services.
7. Electric kettle
An electric kettle offers a safe and easy way to boil water. This comes in handy for making a warm drink like tea or fixing a quick meal for those days you just need a break from the cafeteria. This kettle features borosilicate glass and a European Strix heater – the fastest and longest-lasting on the market.
8. Laptop cooling pad
This useful accessory is thin, lightweight, and portable, making it easy to take along wherever you go. The adjustable pad uses three quiet fans to keep your computer cool and your lap comfortable. It also features a USB port for connecting additional devices.
9. Clever Fox planner
A planner is an easy way for the student in your life to keep track of their tasks, assignments, errands, or other miscellaneous notes. Clever Fox's premium planner allows students to keep track of goals, finances, and classes in a fun and creative way.
10. PhoneSoap phone sanitizer and universal charger
You probably don't want to know how dirty a smartphone gets, but this device is a great way to help minimize your contact with germs. Available in several colors, it functions as both a sanitizer and phone charger. It uses UV-C bulbs to kill 99.99% of all bacteria and accommodates all types of smartphones.
11. Microwave popcorn popper
This BPA-free silicone popcorn popper lets you make your own healthy snack in the microwave. All you need is kernels and the seasonings of your choice! The popper comes in an assortment of colors and folds down for easy storage. It features side handles and is dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning.
12. Under-bed storage bag
It's no secret that storage space may be limited in a dorm room or small apartment. This under-the-bed storage bag from Addie Rose offers an organization option that won't take up other usable room in your living space. The bag features compartments that allow you to separate items and make finding what you need easy.
13. Bedside caddy
This caddy lets you keep all your important items next to your bed and is handy if your living space doesn't provide room for a bedside table. It offers compartments for your phone, laptop or tablet, books or magazines, and pens. The caddy comes in an assortment of colors and simply hooks over your bed frame.
14. Smart LED desk lamp
This desk lamp is more than just a light. It offers a wireless charging pad for your phone and may be controlled remotely using a smartphone app or a smart device such as Alexa. It comes in a variety of colors, uses gentle LED lights, and features three color modes and six brightness levels.
15. Instant Pot
This three-quart Instant Pot gives your college student a way to cook delicious and healthy meals in their dorm room. It takes the place of a variety of cooking tools including a slow cooker, steamer, warmer, and pressure cooker. This model is smaller than the standard size, making it ideal for a modest living space.
16. Wallet Ninja
This simple tool is the size of a credit card but offers a plethora of useful implements, including a screwdriver, box opener, cell phone stand, bottle opener, two-inch ruler, and eyeglass screwdriver. The Wallet Ninja is made of durable steel and comes with a lifetime warranty against rust, bending, or dulling.
17. Storage ottoman
A storage ottoman is a unique way to solve organization problems in a dorm room or other small living space. This ottoman by Youdenova offers side pouches to store writing pads, writing utensils, books, or your remotes and features a foldable laptop or tablet stand. When you don't need it for typing, it doubles as an extra seat or footrest to help you unwind.
18. LapGear MyDesk Lap Desk
This lap desk by LapGear is a tray with a padded bottom. It protects your lap from the heat of your computer and raises your device to a more comfortable level for typing when you want to work from your couch or bed. This product also features a space to hold a smartphone.
19. Water bottle
A water bottle is a simple but useful gift. This stainless steel, 32-ounce bottle from Simple Modern comes in a variety of colors and patterns. Leakproof and built to keep your beverage of choice cold or hot for hours, this water bottle makes it easy to stay hydrated as you go about your day.
20. LED light string
This fun gift lets a college student personalize their dorm room with photos, notes, or small artwork. Twelve feet long with 30 clear clips, it doubles as a decorative and softer lighting option. The string is powered by a USB cable and is easy to hang on walls, windows, houseplants, or ceilings.
The BedShelfie lets you safely place items you want easy access to from bed, including a beverage, phone, or reading materials. Available in nine colors and three different sizes, the BedShelfie is ideal for spaces that may not offer a bedside table, such as a dorm room.
22. Personal safe
Moving into a dorm room with a stranger may make a college-bound student feel uneasy about the security of their belongings. A personal safe from Master Lock lets you store away important items such as a smartphone, credit cards, cash, or identification. This portable safe allows you to set your own combination.
23. Night light and alarm clock
Help the college-bound person in your life wake up in time for class with this fun night light and alarm clock. With three brightness levels and 48 color options, this device is powered by a large-capacity battery that can be recharged by a USB cable in about six hours. This night light from Aisuo also doubles as a bluetooth speaker.
24. Electronics organizer
This electronics organizer from Bagsmart lets you pack away all your chargers, cables, and devices in one convenient place. It's ideal for traveling but is also useful if you often find yourself needing to charge your devices while away from home. This product comes in three colors with a slender design that makes it easy to fit in your backpack or luggage.
25. Power strip
You can never have too many power outlets, and in a dorm room your options may be limited. This Bestek six-outlet power strip includes four USB charging ports, with a unique compact design and six-foot extension cord that make it ideal for small living spaces.
26. Inflatable chair
An inflatable chair is great for a dorm room because it allows students to create extra seating for study sessions or relaxing with friends, then deflate it and put it away to keep their room free of clutter. This chair from Intex comes in three color options, and the extra-wide valve openings make it easy to inflate.
27. Dry-erase sticky notes
These dry-erase sticky notes provide a reusable way to take notes, write reminders, or keep track of assignments. The pads stick to a variety of surfaces such as glass, fridges, mirrors, or laptops. They may also be placed on cabinets using Bubble Bond, a reusable and residue-free adhesive.
28. Flash drive
This 4-in-1 flash drive features USB 3.0, micro-USB, lightning, and type-C plugs, making it compatible with laptops, smartphones, and other smart devices. For students on the go who need to share files or create presentations, this device makes it easy to always carry the files they need.
29. Bluetooth speaker
A bluetooth speaker lets students set the right soundtrack for studying or hanging out with their friends. The Anker Soundcore 2 Portable Bluetooth Speaker comes in three different colors and promises 24-hour playtime. It's waterproof with IPX7 protection to safeguard the speaker from dust, spills, and rain.
This AstroAI fridge contains space for up to six 12-ounce cans, medications, and food. It offers the ability to cool or warm depending on your storage needs. The small design makes it ideal for dorm rooms and lets students keep their favorite snacks on hand. The fridge comes in white or blue.
31. Reusable utensils
A reusable utensil set is great for making sure you always have the right utensil for every meal and reduces waste. This set includes a fork, spoon, knife, chopsticks, two straws, and a straw cleaner. Each piece is made of stainless steel, is easy to wash, and you may select from a variety of color options.
32. Acer Chromebook
The Acer Chromebook offers the key features students may need in a laptop at an affordable price. It features a 14" HD screen, backlit keyboard, and runs on chrome OS. All basic Google apps such as Docs, Sheets, and Slides come standard. The battery lasts 12 hours, which makes it ideal for students using their laptop in class when they may not be able to access an outlet.
33. Smart notebook
Take note-taking to a whole new level with this smart notebook by Rocketbook. The dotted grid notebook uses a special Pilot Frixion Pen to record notes which may be sent to popular cloud services using the free Rocketbook app. The erasable pages mean no more wasting paper and you may choose from a variety of colors.
34. USB powered desk fan
It may not be possible to control a dorm room's temperature, so gifting a desk fan may help keep the student in your life comfortable. This fan by SmartDevil is compact, wireless, and comes in pink, white, or black. It is easily recharged with a USB cord and offers three fan speeds.
35. Smart lock
This device ensures your door is locked and lets you track any activity. It is easy to install over an existing deadbolt and doesn't require you to change your keys. Using this product requires an Alexa smart device, but fun features include automatic locking and unlocking as you come and go.
36. WiFi range extender
Accessing WiFi for homework or streaming on a busy college campus may prove difficult. A WiFi range extender may help solve this problem by giving you a better signal. This device is easy to install and features include a signal indicator to let you know the best location, a two-year warranty, and unlimited free 24/7 tech support.
37. Stun gun and flashlight
Classes, work schedules, or late night study sessions at the library may mean walking back to the dorm after dark. One way to keep the student in your life safe is with this stun gun that doubles as an LED flashlight. Product features include ultra-sharp spike electrodes that penetrate through clothing, a rechargeable battery, and it comes with a lifetime warranty.
Even though most college campuses offer cafeteria options, limited open hours may impact a student's ability to eat there for every meal. Gifting them a cookbook with simple recipes and cooking tips may help them make nutritious meals despite their limited resources. It is available as a hardcover or e-book.
39. Smartphone printer
This fun Fujifilm Instax Mini Link Smartphone Printer lets you print pictures directly from your phone using the Instax Mini app. Through the app, you can add fun filters or frames to your photo to create decorations for a dorm room or share memories with friends. The printer comes in ash white, navy denim, or dusty pink.
40. Coffee mug warmer
Cosori offers a coffee warmer and mug set ideal for keeping your favorite beverage warm while you study. It features an LED display screen and lets you easily control the temperature. The mug comes with a lid, allowing you to easily take your coffee to go, and is made of stainless steel with a silicone slip-resistant sleeve.
41. Phone mount
This Saiji universal clamp clips to the side of a desk, table, or bed frame. It adjusts to fit most smartphones and the flexible gooseneck allows you to position your phone at the angle you need to watch your favorite shows or make video calls back home. The clamp is available in black or rose gold.
42. Fitness tracker
A fitness tracker helps you stay active and develop healthy habits. This version by Lintelek is an affordable option. It measures heart rate, steps, sleep status, calories, and lets you read notifications from social media or messaging apps. The tracker also contains an alarm function that vibrates on your wrist to wake you more quietly than a traditional alarm.
43. Dehumidifier and oil diffuser
Living in a dorm may feel cramped and stuffy, but an air purifier may help clean the air and make any room feel like home. This aroma essential oil diffuser functions as a dehumidifier, air purifier, ionizer, and night light — with seven color options. You can let it run continuously or set it to run on a timer for one, three, or six hours.
44. Safety light
These LED safety lights come in a variety of color options and easily attach to clothing, bags, or bicycles. You may either clip the lights to your clothing or use the included elastic band to wear around your wrist, arm, or ankles. Safety lights provide a simple way to keep you safe and visible if you need to walk after dark.
45. Echo dot
The Echo Dot smart device is powered by Amazon's Alexa. This gift gives the student in your life the ability to read the news, play music, control compatible smart devices, and order items they may need. This model includes an LED display showing the time and also functions as an alarm to ensure students make it to class on time.
46. Desk organizer
This slender desk organizer offers compartments to easily keep essential office supplies without taking up too much desk space. It holds pens, note pads, paper clips or thumb tacks, and even includes a phone stand. The compartments may be rearranged, allowing you to organize it to your specific needs.
47. Tile Essentials
Heading off to college means more responsibilities, including keeping track of important items like keys. Tile Essentials lets you put a tracker on a variety of items and use a smartphone app to find them if they get misplaced. This set comes with two stickers, one mate, and one slim.
48. Portable shower caddy
Sharing a bathroom in a dorm poses challenges. A portable shower caddy is vital to ensuring the student in your life may easily complete their important daily routines. This caddy by iDesign comes in a variety of colors and features holes in the bottom allowing any water to drain. It also offers compartments that allow you to easily organize an assortment of toiletries.
49. Voice recorder
A voice recorder is a great tool for recording classroom lectures to ensure you don't miss any information. The Sony ICD-PX370 boasts up to 57 hours of battery life and a USB connection making it easy to transfer recordings to your computer. The recorder features an easy to read digital screen, headphone jack, and lets you easily control the recording process.
50. Light therapy lamp
During the winter months, college students may experience stress, home sickness, or sleeping issues. The Circadian Optics Lumos 2.0 Light Therapy lamp combats the negative impacts of these problems with pure white LED light that emulates the sun without exposing you to harmful UV rays.