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53 Perfect Gift Ideas for College Students

Care packages are crucial, people.

college
Courtesy Image

Contrary to popular belief, most college students wouldn't mind an ~upgrade~ from their usual Ramen noodle dinner or worn-out backpack. And since it's graduation season, a new class is gearing up for the next four years this summer—plus, don't forget the returning students prepping to conquer their next semester. So now is the perfect time to get that college (or soon-to-be) student in your life a gift that gets them hyped for what's to come.

Small gestures can go a long way. Consider upgrading their dorm room mini-fridge or gifting them a cookbook full of easy and fast recipes. You could also surprise 'em with a coffee maker that'll help them save $$$ or a desk accessory organizer to keep their space tidy and cute. All I’m sayin’ is, if I received any one of these gifts while I was in college, I would be ecstatic.

Now because I know that you're amped for what's to come, here's a lil' sneak peek beforehand...

Our top picks for the best gift ideas for college students in 2022:

Without further ado, here is the comprehensive list of the best gift ideas for college students (!!)

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1
if they wanna tune out the world
Apple AirPods Pro

Treat your giftee to a set of serious noise-canceling earbuds. They're great for walks to class, focusing in the library, or just relaxing in the dorm.

2
if they want to cook
Recipes Every College Student Should Know
Now 26% off

An easy cookbook that has recipes for healthy snacks, meals, and desserts will get their culinary skills goin’.

3
A gratitude journal
Intelligent Change: The Five Minute Journal

College is full of events—the good, the bad, and the scary. A college student sometimes needs a place to let it all out. This journal takes five minutes each morning and will have them start each day on the right note.

4
an everyday shoe
Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Lift Platform Canvas

The shoes that got me through my college career? Converse. These ones have a lil' platform to ~chic~ it up.

5
a place to keep their ID
Ganni Revol Keychain Card Holder

It's time to upgrade their school lanyard. This adorbs cheetah print is just the keychain cardholder they need.

6
If they love to take pics
RETO Ultra Wide and Slim 35mm Reusable Daylight Film Camera
Now 14% off

Their IG aesthetic will be such a ~vibe~ with this 35mm film camera.

7
the #1 must-have
Marc Jacobs The Backpack

A chic backpack that can hold their laptop and books will definitely come in handy when they're making trips to The Library.

8
if they want to stay hydrated
Hydro Flask 18 oz Standard Mouth

Hydro Flasks may be considered ~basic~ but trust me on this one, they ain't no joke! Seriously, they'll keep their water cold for over 24 hours.

9
if they love fitness
OFFLINE By Aerie Real Me Crossover Tennis Skirt

A cute tennis skirt they'll wanna wear even on their off days? A must.

10
if they need some fun accessories
Frasier Sterling Custom Pearl Princess Necklace

If you want to gift the college student in your life something cute and personal, this custom pearl necklace is adorbs.

11
if they live in leggings
Lululemon Align™ High-Rise Pant 28"

These leggings are perfect for class, the gym, hangouts, and so many more places — the versatility! Did I mention that they're also buttery smooth?

12
if they hate doing laundry
The Laundress New York Fabric Fresh Spray No. 10

Laundry day in college = lugging it all to a washing machine in the basement or a laundromat five minutes away. A quick spritz of these guys and lightly worn clothing will smell like new—so they can procrastinate just a bit longer on washing their things.

13
if they need motivation to clean
Pur Home Lavender Multi-Surface Cleaning Powder

College and cleaning don't necessarily go hand in hand. If the student in your life needs a little extra motivation tidying up, buy them this lavender scrub cleaner that can be used pretty much anywhere. It's non-toxic, green, and fully sustainable!

14
if they love gold
SIMONE I. SMITH Polished Hoop Earrings in 18k Gold over Sterling Silver

You can't go wrong with a little gold. These hoop earrings from Simone I. Smith are essential. In fact, the honeycomb earrings from this brand were one of Oprah's Favorite Things, so you can rest assured that the quality is on point too.

15
if they're big on interior design
Galanz Retro Mini-Fridge with Dual Door True Freezer
Home Depot

Finally, a mini-fridge that won't ruin the room's aesthetic.

16
if they need to update their gym shoes
On Cloud Running Shoe

Walking to class can be a pain if you don't have comfortable gym shoes. These ones from On are totally comfy and super cute.

17
if they could use a cozy blanket
Barefoot Dreams In the Wild Throw Blanket

They'll loooove snuggling up in this comfy blanket in between classes.

18 Capri Blue Volcano Reed Diffuser

Open flame + dorm + forgetfulness = no go.

19
a luxurious body scrub
OUAI St. Barts Scalp & Body Scrub

Dorm bathrooms can sometimes be less than ideal. Gift them this luxurious scalp and body scrub by Ouai so they can have somethin' a little luxe in the dorm showers.

20
if they love baby pink
Freedom Moses BABY Slides
BABY

A pair of slides they can easily slip on and off is perfect for dorm life. These work for the shower too.

21
if the dining halls gets old
Moonshot Snacks Climate-Friendly Crackers

There's nothing a college student wants more than food, trust me on that.

22
if they could use more positive vibes
Aesop Olous Aromatique Room Spray

This aromatherapeutic room spray is designed to refresh and relax a space. Show me a college student who wouldn't want that.

23
if they wanna feel secure
Master Lock Portable Safe
Amazon

This lil portable safe will keep their valuables, uh, safe while living away from home.

24
if they love to snack
Ecolution Microwave Popcorn Popper

Whether they're pulling all-nighters or hosting movie nights, having something to snack on is key. And this microwavable popcorn popper will change the game.

25
if they love breakfast
Dash Mini Waffle Maker Honeycomb

Imagine how clutch having a tiny waffle maker within arm's reach would be.

26
if they love a good-smelling room
Vitruvi Stone Diffuser
Vitruvi

Is it just me or is this scent diffuser gorgeous??? An easy to way to create a soothing atmosphere in their dorm room.

27
if sitting at a desk isn't their thing
LapGear Home Office Lap Desk with Device Ledge
Amazon

Here's a must-have for working and studying from bed. And, yes, it even has a place for their phone!

28
if they're into self-care
Bevel Razor + Shave Cream Bundle

A bougie razor that will give them the smoothest. Skin. EVER. *Adds to cart*

29
if they have curls
Briogeo Curl Charisma™ Rice Amino + Avocado Leave–In Defining Cream

If your college giftee has curly hair, this rice amino and avocado leave-in cream is a must-get.

30
If they need a care package
Cocotique Beauty & Self-Care Subscription Box

They'll never run out of essentials if you gift them a monthly subscription like this one filled with everything from deodorant to razors to makeup.

31
if they run on caffeine
Keurig K15 Coffee Maker

They’ll be forever grateful for a Keurig that makes a fast cup of Joe when they’re cramming for an exam. Plus, the mini size is perfect for a college dorm or smaller room.

32
if they need organization
Rosework Rose Gold Desk Organizer
Now 32% off

They won’t have a cluttered desk thanks to this rose gold tray that fits all sorts of office supplies.

33
if they love changing their case
Sonix Mother of Pearl MagSafe® Compatible iPhone Case

The ones who change their phone case as often as they switch their nail color will love adding this adorable marble case to their collection.

34
if they're attending Zoom University
Lume Cube Video Conference Lighting Kit

If they're attending Zoom University, or have an online internship, they need this video conferencing light.

35
if they finally have their own kitchen
Rachael Ray 12-Piece Aluminum Cookware Set

Cooking can be a hassle when you have a shared kitchen, but if they’re in their own apartment, they’ll definitely use a cookware set—especially one in a gorge blue shade.

36
if they have lots of thoughts
Copper and Brass Paper CEO Notebook

A journal is a great present where they can take time away from their busy schedules, self-reflect, and write down their goals.

37
if they're into athleisure
Icyzone Workout Tank Tops

Workout tanks are ideal for any kind of activity, whether it’s running, lifting, or yoga. This set includes three pieces that are so comfy, they’ll wear them even when they're not working out.

38
if they like to be cozy
Fengbay High-Waist Yoga Pants
Now 10% off

Speaking of comfort, a pair of leggings is the perfect present for students. It has a convenient phone pocket and lots of stretch, so they can wear it everywhere.

39
if they want color (or plants) in their room
The Sill Potted Succulent Assortment

Rooms can be uninviting when the walls are stark white and there aren’t any decorations. Liven theirs up with a trio of baby succulents!

40
if they want a nice sheet set
Riley Home Percale Sheet Set

Sometimes a fresh set of crisp sheets and pillowcases makes a world of difference. This percale set will make them feel like they’re in a luxurious hotel and not sharing their space with a roommate.

41
if they’re always freezing in bed
Brooklinen Down Comforter

A plush down comforter will be a game changer in their lives, especially in the wintertime.

42
if they have heavy textbooks
MZ Wallace Metro Convertible Backpack
MZ Wallace

A soft quilted backpack will make carrying all their sh*t so much more manageable, and this style will last even beyond college.

43
if they love tunes
Sonos One SL

A WiFi, portable speaker is basically a must-have when they wanna turn up their favorite song.

44
if they’re sentimental
Artifact Uprising Everyday Photo Book
courtesy of

A stylish photo book they can keep their most prized pics in makes a great gift—and it happens to look so good on any table.

45
if they love to lounge
Serenedelicacy Silky Satin Pajamas Short-Sleeve Set

Give them a comfy striped pj set for those late-night study sessions or just for when they don’t want to leave their room.

46
if they like to take pics
Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera with Film Twin Pack Bundle
Now 28% off

Polaroids aren’t going away anytime soon! They’ll love having this mini Instax around to document their college years.

47
if they like a polished mani
Sally Hansen Salon Gel Polish

An easy way for a college student to save money is doing their own nails. Give them the gift of an at-home nail salon with a kit that includes an LED lamp, nail file, acetone remover, gel nail polish, and more.

48
if they’re a lil homesick
Homesick Scented Candle, Illinois

Give them a little piece of home with a candle from their home state. Each one includes distinct scents representative of each state; this one features notes of “honeysuckle, lavender, and violets with hints of grain fields.”

49
if tea is their thing
Sweese Porcelain Tea Mug with Infuser and Lid

Coffee not for them? A pretty mug made for sipping hot tea will be their go-to whenever they need a little pick-me-up.

50
if they’re low on time
NutriBullet Nutrient Extractor

They might not have a lot of time to grab something, but a lightning-fast blender gives them a healthy smoothie they can take on the go.

51
if they want to treat themselves
frank body Coconut Coffee Scrub

For their self-care Sundays, a kit that includes an exfoliating coffee scrub is one they’ll use consistently.

52
if they need a pick-me-up
Roxanne Assoulin Minty Fresh Bracelet Duo

A stack of colorful bracelets they can wear all together or separately will help cheer them up.

53
if they’re cooking up a storm
S SALIENT 18 Piece Glass Food Storage Containers with Lids
Amazon
Now 21% off

A college student can NEVER have too much Tupperware, and if they usually meal-prep, these blue-accented glass ones will keep them organized.

54

How to choose the best gift for a college student:

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Determine a budget

Did the college student in your life recently graduate high school or celebrate a big milestone in their education career? Or do you want to send a little gift as a sweet gesture to let them know you're thinking of them? Regardless, choose a gift based on the occasion that suits your budget. And, JSYK, the cheapest of the gifts on this list look ~luxe~.

Consider where the college student goes to school and why

Do they go to school where it's warm? Cold? Are they an athlete or a musician? Consider where they go to school—as well as why or for what—to tailor your gift perfectly to suit the student. A unique gift makes it that much more special.

55

Why trust Cosmo?

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Cosmo's shopping team is constantly curating the internet to bring you the chicest, trendiest options like it's our job (because it is, heh).

We have pretty high standards when it comes to recommendations. Each of our shopping articles adheres to the 15 Percent Pledge and includes picks for all styles. And you better believe we read those product reviews (and test many of the brands IRL) so you don't have to. You're welcome!

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