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25 Gift Ideas for College Students

Gift-giving is an art. Giving gifts for college students living in Iowa particularly is an art on a budget. Whether it’s a birthday, Christmas, Saint Valentine, Easter, Thanksgiving, or any other special occasion (even a just-because surprise!), there are dozens of gift ideas for college students to pick from. But…what would make a really great gift for a boy or girl attending college? What do they like? We’ve collected some of the top favorites of undergrads of different academic levels, gender-neutral, useful, and well, fun. Let’s get into it!

Useful Tips to Pick Gifts for College Students

When you’re hunting for a good gift for the student in your life, you should answer the following questions:

  • Who’s your recipient? If you know the giftee, you’re sure to buy something meaningful. Is it male or female? Picking something that will provide genuine excitement requires insight into the giftee’s character. To make the process less challenging, always pay attention to your family members and friends when they mention their passions and hobbies. Are they into cooking? Order some cooking utensils to help them progress in their pastimes.
  • What’s your budget? Careful budgeting is key to choosing the best gift for a college or university student. It’s easy to spend more than you planned, especially if on the lookout for a present for someone you’re in a new relationship with. However, there’s one thing you can be sure of: students are busy writing essays, book reviews, lab reports, and tons of other papers. To make their academic journey less challenging, offer to pay for writing services at essay writing company FastEssay or any similar quick service. You will literally save the day!
  • What’s the occasion? The event’s significance is one of the central elements of gift-giving. Is it a Thanksgiving, New Year’s Eve, wedding, or perhaps Hanukkah? Always remember the type of event you’re going to attend and shop for a suitable gift.

25 Gift Ideas for Iowa College Students  

Now that you know the exact answers to the questions above, time to browse some of the most popular gift ideas for males and females on campus. Whether they are about to graduate or heading into the freshman reality, they would definitely appreciate something creative, practical, or a bit more fun. It’s up to you to choose. Below are some of the ideas we’ve put into the gift basket for you to bookmark.


#1 Bluetooth headphones. A beloved and extra-essential item for undergrads. The original Apple AirPods are famous for holding the battery for quite a long time and will never break that easily. 


#2 Water bottles. Staying hydrated throughout the day is a must for a smooth academic process. Consider S’Well bottles known for keeping drinks cold for a while as one of the most appreciated gifts for busy undergrads.


#3 Gift cards. Excellent as a last-minute gift (or, let’s face it, a lazy gifting idea), a gift card can be quite thoughtful. The gift card ideas vary from cosmetics to bookstores, so you’ll 100% pick something that works for a young person attending classes.


#4 Ring Light kit. Students are often interviewed remotely for a part-time job or internship. Needless to say, good lighting is a must. With a ring light, business meetings (or just a quick silly TikTok video) will look more dynamic.


#5 Portable phone charger. In college, students seem to always be on the go. With a portable phone charger, the low battery problem will go away.


#6 Slippers. Cute fluffy slippers will help young people feel warm as they write their next college paper for hours. 


#7 Salt lamp. Help them add some warm mood light to the college dorm room with a Himalayan salt lamp. A stylish and calming accessory helps combat stress and provides a calming ambiance so much needed after a long and hard day in class.


#8 Phillips electric toothbrush. A toothbrush can actually be beautiful and sophisticated!


#9 Tumbler. A simple gift but something that a college student would appreciate. The vacuum-insulated container is spill-proof and will keep their favorite drinks cold or hot for hours.


#10 Outdoor blanket. Students are huge fans of outdoor activities, so make their next music festival or beach party more comfortable with a sand-proof and waterproof blanket.


#11 Yoga mat. If they’re into yoga, pick a mat with a non slip texture to help them make yoga classes comfy and provide them with something to remind them of how thoughtful you are.


#12 Single-serve coffee maker. Caffeine is an integral part of college success. If your giftee is not a morning person, help them wake up faster and save some money with a single-serve coffee maker. Not only will they have some freshly brewed coffee every morning, but they will also stay away from one of the financial black holes – Starbucks.


#13 Portable photo printer. Help students keep memories of the best years alive! With an easy-to-use portable photo printer, one can customize mini photos with stickers, borders, and other editing tools. No need to buy ink cartridges!


#14 Home fitness set. Pick out some must-haves for home workouts like an ab roller, jump rope, non slip mat, push-up bar, or any other equipment. If the giftee is just at the beginning of the sport routine, go for equipment suitable for beginners.


#15 Board game. Table games are fun and pocket-friendly gifts for a college undergrad. Games like Catan, Bang!, and Saboteur are some of the classy options liked by many players all over the globe.


#16 Plan-and-achieve-it journal. If you’re looking for a gift for the most disorganized person you know, a stylish spiral journal will help them arrange all messy thoughts and focus on what matters most.


#17 Photo frames. Homesickness is inevitable for students who are far from home, sweet home. Choose a nice set of photo frames that would suit the dorm room design and remind your giftee of the dearest people miles away.


#18 Dartboard. Any college dorm room will look complete with a dart board! It’s recommended to choose two sets of darts to provide both beginners and advanced players with some fun.


#19 Gourmet gift baskets. Last-minute shoppers, rejoice! A simple gift basket will save your day! If you know the kind of snacks and sweets the giftee likes, you will quickly arrange a gourmet set. Protein bars, M&M’s, chocolate bars, and Kinder Surprise eggs – the variety of yummy options is impressive, it’s just a matter of taste.


#20 Laptop backpack. The laptop is an essential element of college routine, so a stylish and durable backpack is an excellent present for students. Pick the one that is the right size for the laptop and equipped with pockets and compartments for holding other items like pens, pencils, notebooks, etc.


#21 Shopify premium subscription. With the premium subscription, they will have access to millions of tunes without ads. It’s a great way to help them relax, entertain, or cheer up after a long day of classes.


#22 Sleep eye mask. College is the time of all-nighters and classes early in the morning. It’s no wonder so many students look like pandas with dark circles under their eyes. A sleep mask (pick one with a creative design!) will block out light and help college students relax and enjoy deeper sleep.

#23 Photo clip string lights. If you don’t want to buy conventional photo frames, a battery-powered LED lights set will become a perfect décor and additional source of light.


#24 Enjoy The Wood map. Together with a set of cute push pins, the wooden map will become a stylish and eco-friendly addition to a dorm room, especially if you seek a gift for a wanderlust soul.


#25 Bluetooth speakers. Whether it’s a relaxed chilling out on the beach or a party, portable speakers will set the mood for the whole day and night. 

Wrapping Up

Whenever selecting gifts for Iowa college students, out-of-the-box and creative thinking is always an extra bonus. Always go for something that will leave fabulous memories. We hope the options we listed above will help you find the right gifts for students starting university or experienced seniors.  

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