17 Gifts Every College Student Wants (But Won’t Ask For)

Make the most of dorm living.

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Whether living in a charmless dorm or in a tiny off-campus apartment shared with three roommates, college life is hardly a glamorous affair. There exists a certain clichéd checklist of items one can typically find in a college student’s space: A tapestry here, a string of fairy lights there, and an assortment of plastic storage bins that are probably already broken or will be soon. So if you know a design-minded university student on a tight budget or even just one who could use some elevated essentials, the upcoming graduation season is the perfect time to treat them. If they’re getting their diploma or even if they have another year or two to go, they’ll likely appreciate the gesture, especially since they wouldn’t necessarily buy themselves a gift. Here are 17 seriously stylish finds that any college student is sure to love way past cap and gown day.

College dorms aren’t famous for their wellness-driven environments; a sleek diffuser can change all that. Gift this cool matte black one alongside your student’s favorite essential oils for a thoughtful gift package they’ll definitely appreciate. Try lavender to help them create a more relaxing space, especially during finals.

Get your older college students on their way to building the adult-approved bar cart of their dreams with a fun bottle opener. Available in a range of technicolor shades, this drinkware essential will double as eye candy when not in use.

For jotting down daily to-do lists and taking notes on the fly, a good agenda is the ultimate college essential. This punchy red one will liven up a boring desk space. And since it’s sleek and compact, it’s easy to carry to classes and the library.

A step up from a throw blanket, this linen quilt will help keep them warm during cold winter nights. The sophisticated rust color is unique when compared to most college dorm–approved bedding and will instantly infuse sophistication into even the tiniest of shared spaces.

Whether they’re gearing up for a study abroad or busily planning a spring break getaway, the wanderlusting college student should never be without a travel adapter. This stackable option is sleek and visually stimulating so they won’t forget to toss it in their carry-on.

Breakfast, unfortunately, isn’t always a reliable facet of a college student’s schedule, so they can use all the help they can get to power up for early morning classes. This adaptogenic mix is specially formulated with herbs that make waking up easier. Just mix it with coffee, tea, or hot water and go.

The growing obsession with astrology is showing no sign of slowing down, so there’s never been a better time to share your sign loud and proud. This delightful gift set can easily be broken up into stocking stuffers that will endlessly delight.

Incense is an easy way to create a totally zen ambiance in an otherwise stressful space, but once it’s all burned up, it can leave a mess. This hand-painted incense holder keeps a space clean and aromatic. Plus, it can be used as a dish for jewelry or other tiny trinkets.

What better way for the Instagram generation to immortalize their avocado toast or group selfie than in a chic frame they can mount on their wall or prop on their desk? At just 5”×5″ these cute frames don’t take up much space and are a great way to incorporate mementos into dorm room decor.

As dorm bathroom mirrors can get crowded (especially in the mornings), a small mirror for the room will prove undeniably useful. This one is also a candleholder, which turns it into an on-trend decorative piece as well as a functional gift.

Given that it’s used for literally everything from taking notes to buying plane tickets home, a laptop is probably a college student’s most-valued item. Help them keep it safe from scratches and spills in a sleek case; this elegant one is made of wool felt with leather detailing and is so much more durable than the synthetic competitors.

A speaker that actually looks like a decorative accent piece and not a clunky bit of technology is hard to find, which is what makes this colorful option such a great purchase. With multi-room capability, Bluetooth technology, and an auxiliary input that can plug into turntables and other devices, its technical features match up to its contemporary design.

We love a good tote bag, but after carrying heavy books and a laptop around all day, one shoulder will definitely be feeling the strain. Opt for a leather backpack with a timeless design they’ll be wearing long after graduation. This one by Cuyana was made in Italy and includes a detachable top strap.

Make their dorm feel a little more like home with an electric kettle. Having the ability to make tea in the comfort of their room is a little luxury that can make long nights (or cold early mornings) a little more bearable.

For the over-21 college student, try these upscale shot glasses. They’re reusable, and due to their Himalayan salt composition, they’re particularly perfect for tequila. They’ll never have to salt the back of their hand again.

Student ID cards are necessary to get into pretty much every school building, but they can sometimes be costly to replace. Help ensure they keep track of theirs in a sleek leather card case that’s so compact it even fits perfectly inside most wallets or small bags.

When in doubt, go with a mug. It can be used for tea with their electric kettle (see above) or even eating cereal on those mornings when they’re rushing to get to class.

See more gift guides: 15 Fun and Trendy Gifts Your Sister Will Love 14 Innovative Gifts That’ll Revamp Any Office 18 Chic Gifts to Brighten Up Any Living Room

Elly Leavitt

Writer and Editor

Elly enjoys covering anything from travel to funky design (tubular furniture, anyone?) to the latest cultural trend. Her dream apartment would exist on the Upper West Side and include a plethora of mismatched antique chairs, ceramic vessels, and floor-to-ceiling bookcases—essential to her goal of becoming a poor man’s Nora Ephron. You can probably find her in line at Trader Joe’s. You will never find her at SoulCycle.