They've pulled hundreds of all-nighters, spent their last dollars on coffee cups and now they're getting that coveted diploma. To be a college graduate is one of the biggest achievements in someone's life. It requires grit, perseverance and passion — and that deserves a prize!
According to a 2022 report released by the U.S. Census Bureau, there's been an increase of over seven percentage points in people 25 years or older with a bachelor's degree between 2011 and 2021. This is enough reason to celebrate your college graduate with a small present and show them how proud you are.
Whether they challenged their brain through nursing school to become a healthcare worker or took an extra shift to finish their internship, we've rounded up a list of college graduation gifts for every kind of student. Here are some well-deserved items to prepare them for the workforce and adulthood.
Practical college graduation gift ideas
Some of the best gifts are ones that can't be replaced. This gift honors their loved ones and serves as a keepsake for years to come.
For the grad who's always traveling, give them the gift of peace of mind. The Tile tracker attaches to their personal belongings and coordinates lost or stolen items through the free Tile app. The tracker is also compatible with Apple, Android and smart home devices.
They've finally made it to the finish line, showcase their achievement with this frame dedicated to all their hard work and late-night studying leading up to the big day.
Whether they’re moving into an apartment right away or want to save up for a few months, they’re bound to need a hammer or two while moving in or out of their place. This tool kit is compact, sleek and the perfect way to help them get started.
Help them stay on top of their fitness game with the Fitbit Luxe. The latest version of this smartwatch has tons of beneficial capabilities including all-day (and -night) activity tracking, a vibrant display, essential wellness tools to track your stress, heart rate and sleep, and a five-day battery life.
If this is their first time living alone or moving to a big city after graduation, a Ring doorbell with help them feel safe for years to come.
An Apple TV would be an awesome upgrade to any living room. You can stream movies and shows from hundreds of different apps including Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, HBO, YouTube and use Siri to control it all with your voice.
If they don't already own a pair, the new AirPods are perfect for long work commutes or working out. They're sweat and water-resistant, noise-canceling and give you quick access for anything you need to ask Siri.
Home and kitchen college graduation gift ideas
Gift them with a little touch of their home-away-from-home with this tea towel that's available for most major state universities. This simple and practical decor piece helps them reflect on their alma mater while in their new apartment.
This custom map print would look great in their first apartment. If they’re moving to a brand new state or country, this housewarming gift would help them make their new place feel like home!
Whether they're making lunch in the office or heating up a quick dinner, this microwave pasta pot cooks pasta in no time with just water and noodles. Drain the water through the included lid when it's done cooking, add sauce and you have a meal in minutes. "No muss, no fuss. It cooks the pasta perfectly every time," said one reviewer.
Help them get started on stocking up on kitchen necessities with this 12-piece dinnerware set. It comes with four dinner plates, four dessert plates and four bowls — and they’re made in nine different colors.
A popular gift in East Asia culture, the money tree symbolizes prosperity, wealth, abundance and success. On top of that, it is very easy to care for and self-watering.
This piece from Society6 would look great in their new place. It can be placed in various frame colors like white, black, brown or red and comes in sizes as large as 26 x 38 inches.
This chic yet functional pan is a great investment that will make the perfect welcoming gift into adulthood. The Always 8 in 1 pan comes in a in a wide variety of colors and additional add on to cook a variety of meals. "Worth every penny! I am obsessed with this pan," one shopper raved. "I didn’t really buy into the hype of them replacing multiple pans, but I was oh so wrong!"
The “real world” is filled with early mornings and long hours. This Keurig coffee machine would make a great gift to help them get through endless days at their new job.
College graduation gifts to read
Get their "adult" life started on the right foot by determining which habits to ditch and which ones to keep, thanks to the advice in this book by James Clear.
Post-grad is the perfect time to get inspired and find your true passion, but it should also be one of the best times of your life! This inspirational book written by Meg Jay is filled with tools and encouragement to help your recent graduate make the most of their twenties.
This book is funny, wise and useful for anyone who recently graduated from college. From the wise words of Kelly Williams Brown, she makes adulting in the “real world” seem less scary and more approachable, manageable, and even conquerable in 535 easy steps.
Surely over the course of their K-12 and college education, your college graduate has had a teacher that's made a lasting impact on them. This novel features stories from Oprah Winfrey, Jenna Bush Hager, Rachael Ray and others sharing the lessons learned from teachers that lasted long after the dismissal bell rang.
Food college graduation gifts
Whether you choose to commemorate their graduation now or wait to surprise them on the first day of their new gig, these shortbread cookies can be personalized with any message, date or inside joke and include 24 vanilla cookies.
For $60 a year, they can gain access to groceries in bulk with a Costco membership. Never will they go without their favorite snacks, meal prep ingredients or even paper towels ever again.
After years of drinking cheap beer, post-grad life is the perfect time to find your wine of choice. With a Winc gift card, you can help them explore new bottles on the brand's site.
Whether they’ve never cooked a meal in their life or consider themselves a home chef, a HelloFresh meal delivery kit would be an awesome gift since the recipes are tasty and easy to make. They have hassle-free step-by-step recipes and offer four different meal plans including meat and veggies, veggie-only, family-friendly and low-calorie.
College gifts to help them brave the "real world"
Starting at $15 a month, your grad can add a new skill to their resume by some of the best in the industry in range of categories to choose from.
If their new job requires them to sit at a cubicle from 9 to 5, they're bound to get antsy. This deck of cards provides them with easy and simple poses to do at their desk, to encourage productivity and get their blood pumping again.
Help them plan and prepare for future international trips with this monogrammed passport holder from Etsy.
When in doubt, get them a gift card! There’s bound to be something they need or want from Amazon.
For the grad who prefers to work wherever their heart takes them, they'll appreciate a gift of unlimited portability without being confined to a home office.
Get them ready for future work trips and fun travel weekends with a suitcase from Away. "The Bigger Carry-On" is made out of a durable polycarbonate shell, includes two compartments to stay organized, has a TSA-approved combination lock to keep your things safe and comes with a black leather luggage tag that can be customized.
Best college graduation gifts for her
The fun doesn't have to stop once college is over! Upgrade her red Solo cup to a sleeker, copper party cup for all of her new favorite mature cocktails.
This thoughtful necklace has a dainty compass pendant, which will encourage the new graduate to enjoy the post-grad journey.
If she's embarking on a career in healthcare, help her survive long hours at the hospital with these comfy and versatile joggers. The pants have an anti-wrinkle material, moisture-wicking properties and five pockets for maximum convenience. This one will keep her badge and essentials in place while running through the hallway.
For a trendier jewelry gift, go for this Kendra Scott Elisa necklace. It’s perfect for everyday wear and will add a bit of sparkle to any outfit, whether she rocks it to the office or on a date.
One way to show your recent graduate how proud you are of them is with flowers. This arrangement from UrbanStems is mixed with gorgeous yellow and white flowers with a pop of greenery.
First impressions are extremely important when it comes to interviewing for a job. A Rent the Runway gift card will give them access to hundreds of high-end clothing and accessories to make them look best for the moments that matter most!
If you think she’d prefer a backpack for her morning commute, this everyday backpack from Baggallini is another great option. It's made of a water-resistant material that is easy to clean. It has enough room and pockets for most 13-inch laptops, a change of clothes and shoes for an after-work workout, a packed lunch and more. It even has a dedicated spot for things like your lip balm, keys and phone.
For those college grads who will have to withstand long shifts and standing hours, gift them this pair of kicks from Clove. The brand was created for nurses specifically but the shoes can be worn in any kind of field. These shoes are designed with fluid-repellent uppers, OrthoLite inserts and for long-lasting comfort. "It is comfortable even if I work 12 hours shift [it still feels good]," said one reviewer.
A work bag is a necessity for their first job! This one from Longchamp will match all of her outfits, fit everything she needs for the day and is super easy to clean.
Best college graduation gifts for him
If he’s longing for the good ‘ole days already, get him a set of these unique glasses featuring a map of his old college town.
For an even more upgraded cocktail setup, get him these upcycled record coasters from Uncommon Goods. If he loves music, he'll totally appreciate that they're made out of reclaimed records while he kicks back.
Now that he'll be making real money, he needs a place to put it! This leather Tommy Hilfiger wallet is sophisticated and offers a lot of room for an array of cards, plus it has RFID technology to keep his information safe.
If they’re working behind a desk after graduation, a briefcase is a useful and thoughtful gift to prepare them for their first job. This one from Samsonite is lightweight, sturdy and has plenty of space to organize all of his work essentials.
You can’t go wrong with a nice quality watch. This stainless steel and leather chronograph quartz watch is the perfect gesture for any guy graduating from college. It would look great with a suit or weekend attire.
Custom cufflinks are a special and thoughtful gift for a new graduate. This pair from Mark & Graham is made out of sterling silver in a classic square shape and created in New York.