The best gift ideas for college grads

If you know anyone who is graduating from college, you’ll want to look at some good gift ideas for their graduation gift. Money is always nice, but if you can’t shower your favorite graduate with cash, think about some diy gifts instead.

Use your creativity when trying to come up with gift ideas. (Credit: lolspots)

Use your creativity when trying to come up with gift ideas. (Credit: lolspots)

After all, something made by your very own hands can mean a lot. Let’s take a look at some diy gift ideas and other good gifts for graduation.

Good gift ideas

In a June 24, 2013, post for, “12 Cheap and DIY Graduation Gifts (That You’ll Actually Use!)” Sarah Cotton listed gift ideas for the giver on a budget.

Cotton’s suggestions included:

  • candy gram: on a large poster board, write a poem or other message that conveys your feelings and paste candy bars into the message in a way that includes the name of the candy into your message. For example, “You survived ‘Mounds’ of homework.”
  • car emergency kit: a plastic bin filled with useful items such as a flashlight, batteries and blanket.
  • gym membership: some gyms are as cheap as $10 a month.
  • water bottle: Contigo makes a $14 water bottle that has a compartment to hold keys, an ID and cash.

If you like whimsy, consider Cotton’s final suggestion, a Dr. Seuss book, “Oh the Places You’ll Go!” She suggests that you customize the book with notes from teachers and friends.

DIY gifts

More gift ideas for those on a budget came from Chris Kurien in a May 10, 2014, post for, “Diy graduation gifts for friends.”

Finding the right words to say goodbye to college friends is hard to do. But the perfect gift can say it for you.

Kurien’s list of gift ideas included a personalized mug. Draw on your design with a permanent Sharpie pen then bake it in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure that the mug is in the oven while it is preheating. The 30 minutes starts when you put the mug in the oven and turn on the heat. After 30 minutes turn off the oven and leave the mug in the oven until it is completely cooled.

“Of course, it may seem a little strange to hand someone an empty mug, BUT, once you finish designing the mug you can fill it will all kinds of things that your friend loves: candy, gift cards, tea, makeup, chocolate, perfumes, etc.“ Kurien explained.

More grad gift ideas

In a May 15, 2013, post for, “40 Fabulous Graduation Gift Ideas,” contributor, Nicolette listed more unique and affordable gifts.

Nicolette’s list included:

  • a copy of Shell Silverstien’s book, “The Giving Tree”
  • gift cards to a grocery store, restaurant or gas station
  • movie tickets
  • cookbook
  • photo book or memory book

Something handmade will always help you to be remembered. If you have the skills, a handmade quilt or afghan is a gift that will help maintain good memories for years to come.

“Everyone needs something to snuggle in while they are far from home.  Many of you agreed that a handmade quilt was and is one of your greatest graduation treasures,” Nicolette said.

Final thoughts

When you graduate from college it seems that everyone wants to give you advice about what to do next. In fact the final step in getting your hard-earned diploma is sitting through a commencement address.

But if the advice is useful, then it can be one of your best graduation gifts. With that in mind here are “7 Pieces of Job Advice Your College Isn’t Giving You,” courtesy of Max Knoblauch at

In this May 28, 2014, post Knoblauch offered grads these bits of wisdom:

  • reach out to people you admire
  • consider cleaning up your social footprint
  • network in person
  • utilize social media as much as you can
  • build something yourself
  • set up professional email
  • take advantage of calendars

According to Knoblauch, “While setting up a LinkedIn account is, of course, a great start to your job search and networking with professionals, there are plenty of other simple tips that can give you a leg up on the competition.”

Are there any grads that you are shopping for? What do you think is the perfect graduation gift? Tell us in the comments.

1 reply
  1. Derek dewitt says:

    A friend of mine is graduating from college soon so this gift list was extremely helpful. I might just keep it simple and get a gift card to one of their favorite stores or restaurants like you said. If not, maybe a cheap gym membership or a book.


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *