31 Smart Gift Ideas College Students Really Need

By Laura Fiebert | Updated: November 20, 2023

    College is all about living your best life and gaining your independence. The best gifts for college students are ones that help solve day-to-day problems, from organization to coffee intake. So skip the weird, fuzzy socks and gift cards this year and get gifts for college students that are practical and cool. 

  1. Lap Desk
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    This lap desk is built with an environmentally friendly wooden panel and dual bolster cushions for comfort and support. It can be used while lying on your bed, sofa, or traveling. The laptop desk has a tablet holder, pen holder, and phone holder to have everything in one place. The wrist pad provides a comfortable position to place your wrist while preventing the computer from slipping off. 

  3. Mini Fridge
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    This little guy has a large capacity and takes up minimal space, making it the perfect fridge for any area, whereas standard refrigerators can be a tad too much. This fridge can hold healthy snacks, water, cold brew coffee, and more. This fridge is a great high school graduation gift! 

  5. Bedside Caddy
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    Whenever it’s time to relax after a long, hard day, you want to make it easy to keep all the essentials close by when you’re finally lying in bed. This Bedside Caddy Organizer offers plenty of storage space for TV remotes, books to read, your tablet or laptop, glasses, and other small items, so you can unwind and get comfy without having to search for the things you want the most.

  7. Round Power Strip
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    A college dorm’s two most prized things are space and electrical outlets! This round power strip will ensure all their devices have a place to charge up. The ribbon has six outlets and four USB ports and is lightweight and portable. 

  9. Breakfast Sandwich Maker
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    Just choose your bread and layer on the fixings: egg, cheese, precooked meat, or the ingredients of your choice. Your perfectly assembled breakfast sandwich is ready in five minutes or less. In addition, you can customize your breakfast sandwich with a practically endless variety of fresh ingredients. This gadget makes a great Christmas gift. 

  11. Rocketbook
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    The Rocketbook notebook provides a classic pen and paper experience yet is built for the digital age. Although it feels like a traditional notebook, the Rocketbook is endlessly reusable and connected to your favorite cloud services. When you write using any pen from the Pilot Frixion line, your writing sticks to Rocketbook pages like regular paper. But add a drop of water. And the notebook erases like magic. We designed the Rocketbook for those who want an endlessly reusable notebook to last for years if not a lifetime. 

  13. Bed Side Shelf
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    Forgot the nightstand. This shelf is perfect for the college student who sleeps on the top bunk! The stand can hold everything they need at night or while studying, reading, or watching TV from bed. The stand is available in seven styles, including one with a divet to hold a cup. This may be the most practical gift for dorm life. 

  15. Noise Canceling Headphones
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    These trendy headphones are dorm room necessities. Beats Studio Wireless headphones deliver a premium listening experience with Pure Adaptive Noise Canceling (Pure ANC) to block external noise actively and real-time audio calibration to preserve clarity, range, and emotion. In addition, it continuously pinpoints sounds to block while automatically responding to individual fit and music playback. Earbuds kind of person? You can’t go wrong with Apple AirPods.

  17. Laundry Bag
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    This might not be the most fun gift, but is 100% necessary. The bag can be hung on the wall or door for more accessible storage. The adjustable shoulder straps make it easy to tote back and forth to the laundry room or car. Complete the gift with some laundry necessities.

  19. Portable Bluetooth Speaker


    They can take their music anywhere with this portable Bluetooth speaker, even the beach and pool! The speaker is waterproof and can quickly hook onto a backpack, purse, or bike. In addition, the speaker provides up to ten hours of playtime with a full charge. 

  21. Personal Alarm
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    Enhance the safety of your cherished college student with this potent personal alarm. Activated by removing the top, it blares a siren as loud as a jet engine from 100 feet away, accompanied by a flashing strobe light. The replaceable batteries have a long-lasting life, emitting noise for up to 40 uninterrupted minutes.

  23. Weighted Blanket
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    This weighted blanket provides the warmth and comfort of a gentle hug – even when you are not there. Research suggests weighted blankets may benefit people with anxiety and insomnia, among other conditions. Sleep feeling comfortable throughout the night and wake up feeling renewed! Take a nap, cuddle up on movie night, or read a book. 

  25. Dorm Safe 


    You can’t be too careful with expensive items like phones, watches, keys, jewelry, and other valuable things, especially in a shared space. This safe will help protect their belongings. The safe has a programmable electronic lock and a steel tethering cable.

  27. Flameless Candles
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    Some dorms may not permit students to have candles. These LED candles are the next best thing! The candles are made of soy wax, and the LED “flames” flicker and dance like natural candlelight. The candles are three, four, and five inches high and run on 3 AAA batteries. 

  29. Snack Care Package
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    The Snack Box by Duogreen is a collection of 40 individually wrapped single-serve snacks. This snack box includes a flavorful mix of fun and popular snacks they will love. Perfect for snacking in between classes or when they have late-night cravings.

  31. Hershel Duffel
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    Sized for everyday use and a tremendous light travel bag, the compact Sutton Mid-Volume duffle features long carrying handles and a removable shoulder strap. It has a signature striped fabric liner and a two-way exposed plastic zipper with pebbled leather pulls. 

  33. Reusable Utensils
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    Sometimes, you don’t feel like going to the dining hall and would prefer to order or microwave a little something in your room. This set of reusable utensils is perfect for days like those and students who don’t want to use disposable plastic utensils. They also make a great gift for campers and travelers. 

  35. Photo Coasters
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    Coasters are often a boring necessity for those with neat freak tendencies. The Instant Glass Coasters allow you to use your photos to personalize an often-overlooked home accessory. Use pictures of friends, family, favorite places, and favorite quotes. The possibilities are endless! They’ll be catching your visitors’ eyes as well as their mugs.

  37. Echo Dot
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    The most popular Echo is now even better. With a new speaker and design, Echo Dot is a voice-controlled smart Bluetooth speaker with Alexa, perfect for any room. Just ask for music, news, information, and more. You can also call almost anyone and control compatible smart home devices with your voice. This is perfect iSo if you’re looking for tech gifts for a gadget lover!

  39. Table Top Fan
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    A fan will have two great uses for a college student. First, it can help keep the air circulating in a stuffy dorm room or apartment, and it can help block out noise when they’re trying to sleep or have a study session. The fan has three speeds, and the head pivots 90 degrees to get the right angle. 

  41. Rapid Ramen Cooker
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    Perfect for late-night snacks or quick meals in between classes. The secret behind the delicious taste of every Rapid Brands Cooker is the unique, patented, thick-bottomed construction. Our products are made with highly durable and heat-resistant Polypropylene, which is dishwasher-safe, BPA-free, and microwaveable! This container is an excellent gift for the first-time dorm cook! 

  43. Anker Portable Charger


    A dead phone is an inconvenience and can even be an emergency. But they won’t have to worry about losing touch with this portable charger. The charger is small, lightweight, and can provide nearly 3.5 iPhone 8 or 2.5 Galaxy S8 charges. 

  45. Face Masks Collection
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    This self-care gift set contains a variety of 7 FaceTory skincare sheet masks to hydrate all skin types! They are perfect for boosting hydration, calming the skin, and adding radiance. K-beauty sheet masks contain the best ingredients out there! Known to be gentle yet effective, sheet covers add extra nutrients to replenish the skin and protect it from damage. It is packed with beneficial ingredients that help protect the skin barrier, boost hydration, and provide a beautiful glow! 

  47. Water Bottle
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    Hydration is essential when walking around a college campus! This Hydro Flask water bottle will keep them hydrated. The bottle is made of stainless steel, vacuum insulated, and holds 24 ounces. The bottle is available in other sizes and a variety of colors.  

  49. Jewelry Organizer and Mirror
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    It looks like a mirror at first glance, but it opens to reveal plenty of storage space for your jewelry! With ten necklace hooks, necklaces won’t tangle; you can be ready faster and protect everything well. 

  51. Travel Tumbler
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    These Ramblers come standard with the YETI Lid, the only drink lid that uses the power of magnets to keep your water, beer, or favorite drink on lock. In addition, the Ramblers are BPA-free, dishwasher safe, and have a No Sweat Design to ensure your hands stay dry.

  53. Homesick Candle
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    Homesick offers specialized candles that tap into your sensory memory through nostalgic scents that can remind you of the place where you grew up. Homesick’s fragrances capture the most specific nostalgia — making them the MVP of thoughtful gifting. The concept of these candles is genius: Homesick distilled its signature smells into a nostalgic blend for each state. For example, Michigan calls on tart cherries and rich chocolate, paying tribute to summer on the Great Lakes through honeysuckle, rose, and cinnamon.

  55. Electric Tea Kettle
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    People love hot tea and pour-over coffee, and a fast boiling kettle saves much time on brewing. In addition, the kettle chamber illuminates beautiful blue lights while it is heating and turns off when boiling is done. Great for a cup of joe or a cup of noodles.

  57. Cold Brew Coffee Maker
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    Forget the Keurig. This cold brewing makes coffee less acidic and tastes smoother than traditional hot brewing, providing purer, healthier coffee concentrate. Cold Brewer locks freshness and flavor for up to 2 weeks within the durable extra-thick glass for maximum temperature stability. Flexible for brewing hot or cold, tea or coffee, within a sleek design engineered to fit perfectly in your fridge. It is the perfect gift for a person who loves coffee.

  59. Amazon Prime Membership
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    Amazon will send your gift recipient an email on the day you choose, along with redemption instructions. The gift recipient can start their Prime membership right away. If the recipient is already a Prime member, the gift can be exchanged for an Amazon.com Gift Card at the original gift purchase price value plus any applicable sales taxes paid. 

  61. Storage Containers
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    Storage space can be hard to come by in a dorm or apartment. These storage containers will help! They can be stored under the bed and out of the way. The tops are see-through, so it’s easy to see what’s inside at a glance, and include handles, so they’re easy to transport. 

  63. Personalized Toiletry Bag
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    When you share a bathroom, you don’t have the luxury of spreading your things on the counter. This personalized toiletry bag will help them keep their items together and organized with style! The bag can be customized with its name and is made of PU leather.

    What do college students need?

    Every college student needs a few essentials to rock their college life—first, a sturdy backpack or laptop bag to carry around all those books and gadgets. Then, don’t forget a cozy dorm room with some comfy bedding, incredible decorations, and storage solutions for that home-away-from-home vibe.

    And, of course, a trusty planner or calendar app to keep track of classes, assignments, and social events. Finally, a reusable water bottle and some handy snacks for those on-the-go study sessions. With these must-haves, you’ll be all set to conquer college life like a boss!

    What are the best gifts for college students?

    Whether they are a freshman or OG seniors starting their last year, college students deserve a gift that will make their lives easier and less stressful. From dorm upgrades to snacks, we’ve found the best gift ideas that any college kids would be happy to receive. Our gift guide has the best ideas for college guys and girls to use on and off campus.