5 Most Useful Gifts for Their First Year of College

By: Judi Robinovitz | Last Updated: July 19, 2013

Graduation has come and gone, and with it the parties that celebrate that exciting change. Now, it's time for you and your teen to buckle down and start planning for college to start in the fall. While you're shopping for necessities, be sure to pick up a few optional items to make their move a little easier.

1. Mini Coffee Maker

For those college all-nighters, students need a quick, reliable and affordable outlet to get a caffeine buzz that will get them through it alive. Keurig offers a mini brewing system for around $100, which takes up minimal space and brews a delicious cup of joe in one minute. Since college students are apt to spend half of their paychecks and/or dining allowance on Starbucks, you could help him save money until college graduation.

2. Smartphone

They've been begging for one since freshman year, and now might finally be the time to cave. After all, high school graduation marks the beginning of your last days together before she's off to bigger and better things. Android cell phones from T-Mobile could help everyone stay in touch through texting, phone calls, emails and video chatting on the go. Not to mention, there are tons of apps your teen can download to stay organized, which he'll definitely need for a newly independent life.

3. A Good Book

It's one of those priceless gifts that's too often replaced by gifts like DVDs and video games, but this medium can enrich a recent graduate's life in more ways than one. Not to mention, books are a relatively inexpensive gift. So feel free to indulge a little with this one and include all of those titles that changed your life. For some ideas on what to include, check out the following well-reputed titles: "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" ($25), "The Best American Short Stories" ($15), "The Inn at Lake Devine" ($15) and "The Benchley Roundup" ($20).

4. Chargers

High school and college students thrive on technology. Make sure they stay connected in the most efficient and convenient ways by gifting car chargers, solar chargers and and even charge-preserving protective cases. J&R makes an environmentally-friendly gadget called the Mushroom Green Zero Wall Travel Charger ($22), which shuts off when the charge is full to avoid wasting power and potentially compromising the device's battery life overall.

5. Hiking Backpack

From traversing college campuses to backpacking across Europe, high school graduates will definitely need an upgrade from their old pack. Although it might be on the higher end of your budget at $235, the Cordura Hiking Backpack won't disappoint with a durable nylon-and-leather construction, protective laptop sleeve and plenty of convenient organizing pockets. Both stylish and practical, hiking backpacks are essential for a life in transition.

You might be used to gifting games and other fun, purely entertaining presents for high school students. But, once they graduate, it's time to start treating them like the adults they are. Although they might miss the days of Xboxes topped with a bow and designer dresses wrapped nicely, they'll find that these practical gifts are of much better use in an independent lifestyle.

Topics: College Planning


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