11 Graduation Gifts They Won't Return

Stumped on what gift to get for a high school grad? Guest author Claire Preston from College in the Bag suggests 11 fun and useful gifts for any budget.

QDT Editor
2-minute read


Wondering what to give the high school graduate? First and foremost, albeit inelegant, kids always love the green stuff – cash. As college tuition sky-rockets and textbooks cost as much as $350 each, every little bit helps*.

Here are 11 smart ideas to meet every budget:

  1. Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies Gift Certificate Send the graduate a congratulations card with a note promising to send a care package of homemade chocolate chips cookies. Nothing like homemade cookies to help make new friends! $20

  2. University Flag – great for dorm room decor and graduation parties. They can be ordered online from the campus bookstore. $25-$50

  3. Gift certificates- Bed, Bath & Beyond or Target for dorm room supplies.

  4.  Amazon Gift Certificates- these can be used for textbooks and all sorts of necessary supplies. Most students open an Amazon Prime membership, thus they can receive their orders within 2 days. So easy.

  5.  The Naked Roommate by Harlan Cohen, a fun read of behind-the-scenes look at everything students need to know about college. $9

  6. Guys- 24 identical pairs of Socks Lose a sock and you have 47 more that match. Go to Costco or a Nike outlet and laundry will not become an issue. $50

  7. Girls- Shower wrap around towel, bonus points if it is monogramed. $20 – $40

  8. Memory foam bed pad and pillow- college kids love their beds and they tend to brag about who sleeps best on their hallway. $100+

  9.  OtterBox one of the best inventions to protect expensive smart phones. Be sure to get the right model. $20 – $40

  10. “Off to College” Laundry Basket – this is for the creative gift giver! Pick up a new laundry hamper and fill it with laundry supplies, snacks, Advil, first aid kit, flip flops, flash light, extension cords, etc. $30+

  11. New Computer – Before purchasing one, check with the University tech department to see if they have any special purchasing discounts and what systems they best support. If purchasing a Macintosh, Apple offers a $100 discount with student ID.  $500 – $1,200

*Bonus Tip - if your child receives a large sum of cash gifts, consider dividing it into payments that they will receive over the course of four years. For example, if the total sum is $1,000, and it is not going directly towards tuition, allow them $250 per year for spending money, books, etc.

This piece originally appeared on collegeinthebag.com.