10 Great Gifts for Grads (Including DIYs)

Looking for the best gift for your favorite graduate? Well, look no further, my friends! I’ve got ten great gift ideas to make any graduate grin!
The first five are store-bought and the last five are DIY ideas.
Here we go:


1. Oh the Places You’ll Go (Dr. Seuss) – This is such a classic gift! It’s cute, quirky, and meaningful. Write your own message in the front cover to personalize it for your special grad, or stick a few bills between the pages to make it a treasure in more ways than one!

A selection of gift cards in a store in New York on Wednesday, November 2, 2011. (© Richard B. Levine)

2. Gift Cards – You can’t go wrong with any form of money, truthfully. College students need money and lots of different supplies for dormlife, as well. Best Buy, WalMart, Target, Bed Bath and Beyond are all good places to start. Other helpful gift cards would be for food (check out what local restaurants will be in the area of the grad’s school), gas cards (great for commuters and people who are going to school farther from home), and bookstores (textbooks and recreational reading are nurtured with this gift!)


3. Camera, picture frames, photo album, etc – For recording memories of home and capturing new memories at college!


4. School supplies – a practical gift is a good gift, and you will need school supplies at college! Pens, pencils, notebooks, binders, paper, paperclips, rubberbands, thumbtacks, etc – all of these will come in handy in college! Pack it all up in a nice, sturdy backpack that the grad can take with them to college in order to complete this fantastic gift.


5. A laptop or a printer – This is the priciest gift on this list by far, but it also has immense practical value. I couldn’t imagine facing college without a laptop of my own. Even when computers are available in labs and libraries across campus, a laptop is still almost a necessity for pulling all-nighters to study, taking notes during class, or finding a new setting for studying like a nice spot under a tree. Having a personal printer is also very important.

DIY stuff:



6. Quilt – If you have the time, make a quilt with old T-shirts or cute fabric to keep a person warm in their dorm at night!


7. Candy Gram – Give him or her the sweetest gift imaginable – a personalized letter featuring all sorts of goodies! Tell them they’re a SMARTIE[S], tell them you’ll miss them to [REESE’S] PIECES when they’re in college, or mention that they deserve to have lots of FUN [DIP] there. Who wouldn’t love that?

8. College survival kit – A gift personalized just for your friend! It could be a laundry basket or a backpack filled with things like a first-aid kit, snacks, office supplies, cookbooks, a blanket, laundry detergent, dorm dishes, games, movies, etc. Anything that will help them through their college experience will be perfect!

Pill Quotes

9. Homesickness Pills – This is my favorite idea, and I did it for my friends this year. All you need is an empty pill bottle, a bunch of little strips of paper, and a touch of inspiration. You can choose to type up and cut out your “pills” or hand write them. You can write some meaningful quotes from authors you like, jokes, little personal messages or reminders that you’re there for them or hope to see them soon, or cute doodles to cheer them up. Or you could do a mix of all of these things, like I did. When you’re done, you can crumple or fold the strips of paper to look like pills and fill the bottle. Then, label the bottle with their name and whatever you want, really. (I put: Take as needed when feeling homesick, discouraged, or otherwise upset. Do not overdose; do not take more than one pill at a time. Medication may take a little while to take effect; take your time to consider each one.) As cheesy and nerdy as it sounds, my friends absolutely adored it!


10. Contact Kit – Give your friend your contact information (including email, phone number, dorm mailing address, etc) envelopes, stamps, cute stationery, and maybe a schedule of your school year so they can make plans for your breaks! This will show that even when life takes you separate directions, you want to stay connected. That’s a very important thing to keep in mind when you’re facing something as intimidating and unknown as college or the full-time workforce.

*One last tip: It’s always nice to top off any gift with a nice, hand-written, heartfelt letter to express whatever excitement or pride or appreciation you might feel for your recent grad. As you can probably tell, I’m a fan of cheesiness, so I’m biased, but cheesiness is totally okay! Graduation is something to be excited about and proud of! It’s okay to be sappy when you’re that happy! Basically, don’t live with regrets and don’t let anything go unsaid – let graduation be the excuse to say everything your cheesy heart desires!

I hope this list came as some help to you.

So…what are you waiting for? Go on a shopping spree or bunker down for some DIY projects before that graduation party!