My daughter was accepted to 6 colleges.
And while we are still waiting for decisions from 3 other colleges, as a dad, I started looking for some good gifts for my rising college freshman.
Because each college-bound teenager is different, the gifting options are virtually endless!
I spent several days researching, and I think I came up with some cool gift ideas, and I wanted to share them with other parents and grandparents.
Here are some of the things to consider; most of them can be purchased on Amazon, so I provided the links (affiliate) as well for your convenience.
1. Apple MacBook Air with M2 Chip
Some colleges offer laptops to enrolled students, but if yours didn’t then you may need to consider buying one for your kid.
I have 7 MacBooks at home, and in my opinion, most students will be well served with the newest Air model. The exception is CS students, who may prefer a MacBook Pro.
Here’s the secret: every August, Apple runs a sale for college students. Besides the $100-$200 discount, they often give away AirPods or other accessories.
2. Bangson Mini Fridge With Freezer
According to the National Library of Medicine (NLB), having a more favorable dietary intake is associated with better academic achievement among college students.
In order to keep the consumption of processed foods, which are laden with sugar, sodium and fat, to a minimum, having a small refrigerator in the dorm allows the undergraduate to have access to healthy perishables.
And a product that’s suited for the job is the Bangson mini fridge with freezer.
With a 3.2 cubic foot capacity, it’s large enough for various healthy foods and snacks and beverages.
However, it’s small enough for a college dorm. And one of the nicest things about the compact refrigerator is that it has a reversible door that allows for installation no matter where in a cramped room.
3. Timemore Manual Coffee Grinder
Research conducted by Clinical Nutrition said that up to 92% of all college students drink coffee on a regular basis. It doesn’t come as a shock given the workload that comes with earning a bachelor’s degree.
Since heading to a coffee shop each time uses a lot of resources, a coffee grinder within easy reach lets a college student make a piping hot cup of java to pull off an all-nighter or unwind after a successful class presentation.
And a phenomenal gift that would allow him or her to grind coffee beans to more than 30 types of roughness is the Timemore manual coffee grinder.
Carrying design awards from both Red Dot and Good Design, the product is perfect for any busy undergraduate because it’s compact and lightweight.
4. Intelligent Neck Massager
Among a large sample of undergraduate students, according to a study conducted by BMI Public Health, around 46% of participants reported neck pain within a 1 year period.
About 33% of those, meanwhile, experienced persistent neck pain. Such could be blamed on many things, including computer use, which is common among college students.
Due to this, the Intelligent Neck Massager (eBay) would make for an excellent gift for someone who is college-bound.
There are 3 modes and 15 strength settings to choose from. Because of this, the product can help ease stiff and achy neck muscles no matter the severity. It’s also integrated with a heat function of up to 120°F (49°C).
5. Deluxe Gourmet Wicker Gift Basket
Someone with a sweet tooth who just received an acceptance letter from his or her ultimate dream school, of course, would love to step foot in the dorm for the first time with a basket packed with delicious treats.
Nothing can say “congrats!” without actually saying it more than handing the individual the Deluxe Gourmet Wicker Gift Basket — it’s teeming with just about anything and everything that a certified foodie who is about to work on a bachelor’s degree won’t be able to resist.
Some of them are chocolate amaretto almonds, chocolate-covered graham cookies, butter toffee mixed nuts, assorted milk toffees, mint chocolate chip cookies and hazelnut wafer rolls.
Holding everything is a massive wicker basket, which can be used later on as a nifty dorm organizer.
6. Audio-Technica Noise-Canceling Headphones
Refrain from assuming that just because a student is headed to a non-party school means that he or she will have all the peace and quiet necessary for studying or getting some much-needed sleep.
When different people from different backgrounds live together, there are all sorts of sounds.
And this is why a perfect gift for an undergraduate student-to-be would be a pair of Audio-Technica QuietPoint wireless active noise-canceling headphones.
As the name suggests, it can be connected to a smartphone or any other Bluetooth-enabled device wirelessly, thus keeping the dorm from getting cluttered.
Its noise-canceling technology is active, which is better at dealing with background noise than the passive kind. Using it, any college student will find it easier to concentrate on the book chapter or get to dreamland hassle-free.
7. Echo Dot With a Mesh WiFi Router
Students working on a bachelor’s degree need to possess excellent time-management and organizational skills if avoiding missing deadlines and arriving late to classes are some of the goals.
With a lot on the plate, any undergraduate can use all the assistance he or she can get to stay on time and organized.
It goes without saying that the Echo Dot with a mesh WiFi router would surely be a welcome addition to the suitcase of someone who is bound for college.
It’s a compact voice-control smart speaker and digital assistant.
With Alexa ready to lend a hand at any given time, the degree-seeking student could make living away from home less stressful and boring. It could also allow him or her to set reminders, create to-do lists and more.
8. Kodak Mini Shot 2-in-1 Camera and Photo Printer
According to a poll conducted by the Center for Engaged Learning (CEL) at Elon University, up to 78% of students said that their relationships with their friends were very or extremely important to their college experience.
On the other hand, a Facebook study said that about 28% of married people met each other on campus.
So, in other words, it’s not just a degree that students tend to earn in college but also friends and spouses.
Thanks to the Kodak Mini Shot 2-in-1 camera and photo printer, a college student can document friendships and romantic relationships in pictures — snapshots taken can be saved to one’s smartphone or just about any other compatible Bluetooth-enabled device with storage space as well as print 3 inches x 3 inches photos using the camera itself.
Other than the photos the device itself takes, it can also be used for printing image files saved on a phone or elsewhere — it’s compatible with Apple and Android products.
9. Amazfit GTS 2 Mini
A BioMed Central (BMC) Public Health report says that around 40% to 50% of all college students are inactive. This is especially true for those who are still getting the hang of higher education.
Needless to say, many of those who are working on a bachelor’s degree are at risk of obesity.
This is why the Amazfit GTS 2 Mini fitness tracker would make for a wonderful gift for a health-conscious teen who is about to attend college.
It has some of the most important features that most fitness buffs look for in a smartwatch: more than 70 sports modes, a GPS tracker and sleep and heart rate and blood oxygen level monitoring.
The product comes integrated with Alexa, too. It also allows the wearer to get notifications for text messages, calendar schedules, weather forecasts and alarms.
10. Lorell Smart LED Desk Lamp
The average college student studies about 17 hours per week, according to USA Today.
Because studying enough is very important for any undergraduate to reap college success, just about any gift that can make hitting the books more inviting, convenient and effective would be a great pick.
Something that would make for a fantastic addition to his or her dorm study table is the Lorell smart LED desk lamp.
It provides ample lighting and cell phone charging functionality. The brightness can be adjusted with a touch of a button, and its angle can be adjusted up to 180°.
There are also 4 lighting modes to choose from: read, study, relax and sleep.
11. Romoss Power Bank
On or off campus, it’s important to keep a college student’s mobile devices such as a smartphone, tablet and handheld gaming console from running out of much-needed juice.
It helps the person stay connected to anyone from family members and friends to classmates and professors as well as from getting bored and unproductive.
And to make sure that every gizmo is up and running while the degree-seeker is on the go, it’s a wonderful idea to surprise him or her with a power bank as a college acceptance gift.
Capable of charging iPhone and Android phones up to more than 20 times is the Romoss 60,000 mAh high-capacity power bank. What’s more, it has a total of 4 outputs that cover all devices.
The power bank also has an LCD that tells the owner when it’s time to charge it.
12. Hydro Flask 32-Ounce Water Bottle With a Straw Lid
Scientists say that the human brain is composed of about 73% water. Making sure that the said organ is getting all the water it needs allows a person to think faster and concentrate better.
So, in other words, staying hydrated is essential for any college student for him or her to be able to enjoy an optimum academic performance.
And to ensure that a teen bound for college has access to his or her favorite cold or hot beverage all the time, something like the Hydro Flask 32-ounce water bottle is essential to have.
It’s also an amazing gift for someone who’s conscious about health and the environment, too, given that the item is BPA- and phthalate-free as well as reusable — it won’t contribute to pollution.
13. Instant Pot Duo Plus 9-in-1 Multi-Cooker
And speaking of health, it can be easier for someone miles away from home to enjoy hearty home-cooked meals to stay in the pink of health if he or she can make meals from scratch in the confines of the dorm.
Practically any wholesome meal on a college student’s mind or the page of a recipe book can be made using the Instant Pot Duo Plus 9-in-1 Multi-Cooker.
As the name suggests, it’s 9 different cookers in a single appliance. They include a slow cooker, rice cooker, pressure cooker and even a yogurt maker.
The item has a total of 15 customizable cooking programs, which allows a college student to attend to his or her studies or leisure pursuit while cooking something healthy and delicious.
In addition, the multi-cooker is compact and easy to clean, so it won’t take up a lot of a student’s space and time.
14. Cuisinart Easy Pop Popcorn Maker
Unfortunately for many college students, especially those who have committed to some of the most challenging majors out there, it’s not always that they have time to make healthy foods from scratch.
But something that they could whip up in just a few minutes is popcorn — air-popped and lightly seasoned popcorn is surprisingly healthy.
As a matter of fact, such popcorn kind is packed with dietary fiber that may help lower heart disease and diabetes risk. It also contains polyphenols, which are antioxidants that neutralize harmful free radicals.
Thanks to the Cuisinart Easy Pop Popcorn Maker, an undergraduate can have healthy popcorn easily each time.
At a time, the popcorn maker can handle up to 16 cups of popcorn, which is great for when classmates and friends decide to spend some time at the dorm. The cover also serves as the serving bowl.
15. Amazon Basics Steel Security Safe and Lock Box
In 2019, based on data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a total of around 27,300 college crimes were reported to police and security agencies. Of those, about 9,000 were burglaries.
Needless to say, keeping one’s valuables and possessions out of harm’s way should be a primary concern for college students.
Someone who is gearing up to pursue higher education can have peace of mind if the things he or she holds dear are very much likely to stay in the dorm when no one’s looking.
For this, the Amazon Basics Steel Security Safe and Lock Box is suited for the job.
Having a 0.5 cubic foot capacity, this personal safe is out of alloy steel and is designed to secure small items ranging from cash, jewelry, documents and IDs. It features an electronic lock and includes 2 emergency override keys.
16. Zap Light Mini Rechargeable Stun Gun Flashlight
There are instances when it’s not the college student’s possessions that need safeguarding but the owner himself or herself.
Because there are thousands of crimes committed against students on and off campus year after year, it makes a lot of sense to ensure that they are armed with something that can help protect them.
A product perfect for it is the Zap Light Mini Rechargeable Stun Gun Flashlight, which, despite being lightweight and measuring only 4.73 inches x 1.5 inches x 1.5 inches, can deliver 800,000 volts of electricity.
Other than being a stun gun, the item also doubles as a flashlight.
It comes with a nylon case, wrist strap and USB charging cord. Fully charging its high-endurance rechargeable battery is good for using the LED flashlight for 3 hours.
17. Tile Mate Essentials Bluetooth Trackers
Sometimes, an important item can go missing not because of a burglar or thief but because of the forgetfulness of the owner — it’s quite common for undergraduate students to misplace things given that they have a lot of stuff to take care of, ranging from academics, extracurricular activities to part-time jobs.
To keep a college-bound teen from potentially ending up with a splitting headache finding a lost possession somewhere in the dorm, on the campus or elsewhere, gifting him or her some Bluetooth trackers is a really smart move.
Tile Mate Essentials consists of 2 mates, 1 slim and 1 sticker bundled together.
Compatible with both iOS and Android devices as well as various voice-activated assistants, misplaced items should not keep a college student from tending to some of his or her most important everyday tasks.
18. Rocketbook Pro Smart Notebook
A tech-savvy individual should not go to college without devices that can make studying easier.
There’s no denying that a smart notebook would make for a fantastic addition to his or her collection of smart devices.
And as far as the note-taking task in the modern way is concerned, the Rocketbook Pro Smart Notebook allows any college student to jot down important matters and send them straight to an assortment of popular cloud services.
Included with the purchase are the following: a scratch-resistant hard cover, a lined/dotted grid page pack that contains 20 reusable sheets, a Pilot FriXion pen and a microfiber cloth.
The smart notebook uses letter-size pages (7.8 inches x 10.5 inches).
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.