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Great Gifts for Your Soon-to-be College Student

Senior year of high school is a time to enjoy quality time with friends, reflect on the progress made over the past 12 years of school, and look forward to life’s next chapter. Too often, though, it becomes a frantic season of college applications, essays, final exams, and other life stressors. Fortunately, the holidays are a perfect time to encourage your child to slow down a bit. Purchase a holiday gift that promotes relaxation, entertainment, or a slower pace of life to ease the transition into college.


When it comes to blending practicality with entertainment, a tablet computer is a smart choice. When your child is off to college, she’ll need an easy way to take notes in class without lugging a laptop everywhere. Plus, free time is easily filled by playing Candy Crush or catching up on her favorite blogs. Consider a Kindle Fire tablet if your college student-to-be is a big reader; this allows her to easily access’s wide array of e-books. Alternatively, the Microsoft Surface tablet is a great gift for someone who wants to sync her tablet with other Windows devices, while the iPad offers an enormous variety of apps and games.

Video Streaming Subscription

Your son loves going out to catch a movie with friends, but he’ll be short on cash when college begins. A yearlong subscription to a video streaming service is a fantastic gift for movie or TV lovers. For example, Netflix offers its video streaming package, giving your college student access to thousands of videos and TV shows. If your kid watches a lot of shows currently airing on TV, Hulu Plus or Amazon Prime are smart options.

Travel Gear

Now that those college applications are done, your kid’s wanderlust has set in. For a child who is furiously saving money to fund a backpacking trip through Europe or South America, travel essentials would be greatly appreciated. Head to REI to score great deals on an interior frame backpack that can fit plenty of gear. Then, buy a membership to Hostelling International to give your child access to discounted rates on a large network of hostels worldwide.

The Gift of Cleanliness

Sure, it may not be as glitzy as a new tablet, but there’s something to be said for high-quality cleaning implements. For dorm dwellers, keeping a small space clean is an essential skill. Consider creating a cleaning care package for your child. For example, getting a Dyson vacuum from Macy’s will make your college student the most popular person in her dorm when it comes time to quickly clean up before parents’ weekend. To round out the gift, fill a new laundry basket with cleansing wipes, antibacterial hand gel, laundry detergent, and bathroom fragrance.

Rugged Camera

Maybe your child is dreaming of college in Colorado, where he can hit the slopes after class. Or perhaps your daughter longs to head to California for great surfing. A rugged camera is a great holiday gift for an adventurous child. GoPro makes cameras that are shockproof, waterproof, and mountable to helmets or other gear. Look for a model with higher video resolution to live vicariously through your child’s snowboarding, swimming, running, biking, or waterskiing adventures.

Author: Adam Andrews

Adam is a teacher and blogger from Boston.

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