College Graduation Gifts from Parents

Your son or daughter is finally graduating! Celebrate your student’s four (or more) years of hard work with these graduation gifts. These practical and fun gifts are a great way to show your pride in your college graduate!


  • Laptop: After four years of use, your student’s laptop might need to be replaced
  • Pay for 6 months of internet/cable to help your student get started.
  • Subscription to Netflix, Hulu, or Disney+
  • Tablet: These can be a great tool for showing off a resume or portfolio!
  • Helmet Cam: For active students or just for fun, these can be a surprising but enjoyable gift!


Low on cost but highly meaningful

  • Put together a cookbook of some of your student’s favorite recipes, plus some quick, easy meals she can make on the run. Include a basket with the spices or even jarred sauces your student will need for the recipes.
  • Set your student up with a file box that already has folders for her important documents. Include places for health care forms, records and bills; tax information; financial records; and housing documents such as the lease, maintenance requests, and any other correspondence with her landlord. This is a great time for your student to learn how to organize and manage her important documents, and your guidance will be especially helpful.
  • Get a frame with multiple openings, and fill it with photos from your student’s life. Photos can brighten your student’s day when she’s feeling far from home.


  • A briefcase, nice pens, and a business card holder
  • Professional clothes for interviews or work: Looking sharp can help your student feel more confident! (Give your student a gift card or gift her a shopping trip; it’s important for your student to be there to try things on and pick out what she likes.)
  • A good quality rolling suitcase in a unique color or pattern. (Black, dark blue, and dark green suitcases are hard to spot. Try bright colors or bold patterns to make bag claim easier.)
  • An experience: cooking classes, a ski pass, surf lessons or a gym membership are out-of-the-ordinary gifts that can help your student make friends in her new area.
  • Send a VRBO gift card so they can plan a trip with friends!

Capture the memories

  • Diploma frame
  • College memorabilia (sweatshirt, alumni license plate frame, coffee mug)
  • Photo album
  • Plane ticket to visit college friends or return to campus for Homecoming
  • DVD/professional photos of graduation ceremony
  • Class ring
  • Camera

Prepare for a job

  • Briefcase or leather portfolio
  • Engraved pen
  • Suit (or gift certificate to a professional clothing store)
  • Elegant professional accessories — tie, belt, scarf, jewelry
  • New smart phone, tablet, or laptop
  • Business card holder
  • Session with a life coach or resume-writing service

Be sentimental

  • Collection of family recipes
  • Scrapbook of childhood
  • Family heirloom
  • Letters of love and congratulations from family and old friends
  • A family night with student’s favorite meal, games, movies, etc.
  • Engraved jewelry
  • Monogrammed stationery
  • Monogrammed jewelry box or travel case
  • Monogrammed leather passport holder

Prepare for a home

  • Send a food delivery subscription
  • New bed and bath linens
  • Coffee maker
  • Dishes and silverware
  • Glassware
  • Welcome mat
  • Crock pot
  • Cookbooks or cooking magazine subscription
  • Portable grill
  • Cookware set
  • Toolbox
  • Picture frames
  • Wall art
  • Globe or world/U.S. map to keep track of adventures

Be practical

  • New car tires
  • Six months of car insurance
  • Membership with AAA
  • New bike
  • Deposit on an apartment
  • Sports equipment or gym membership
  • Roll-on suitcase or weekender duffel
  • Moving truck costs
  • Help moving from college
  • Free rent at home
  • Money clip with money
  • Gift cards to clothing or home furnishing store
  • Restaurant and grocery store gift cards
  • Gift card to salon or barber shop