What gifts do college graduates actually want?

**The Edvocate is pleased to publish guest posts as way to fuel important conversations surrounding P-20 education in America. The opinions contained within guest posts are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of The Edvocate or Dr. Matthew Lynch.**

A guest column by Brooke Chaplin

College graduation is an exciting milestone for most young adults, and it is customary to show your support with a gift. However, it can be hard to know exactly what they might want or need at this time of life. A lot of people go with engraved jewelry or embroidered gifts, but these aren’t among the favorites for college graduates who actually receive them. Here are few ideas to get you started on your gift search.

If your budget allows for a technological gift, then it is almost guaranteed your graduate will love and use it often. A new laptop is certainly an appreciated gift, but others to consider might be a new iPod, a camera, or a cell phone upgrade.

Alumni Gifts
Most graduates are going to be nostalgic about their school. If you are looking to spend at the higher end of the spectrum, then consider giving them a class ring or having their diploma framed for them. If those ideas are out of your price range, then most college bookstores carry alumni gear such as shirts, blankets, and plaques.

Home Items
If the graduate is leaving the dorms behind and planning to move into their first apartment or rental home, then gifting them with home furnishings will be welcome present. Ideas could be kitchen items like pots and pans, small furniture such as end tables, or even décor items such as candles and throw pillows. Anything that will make their new place feel like home is a great idea.

Gifts Based on their Major
Commemorate all their hard work in their selected discipline with a gift that speaks to their area. English majors might appreciate a gift edition of the works of William Shakespeare, an education major would love a new set of flashcards for kids, and a business major might enjoy a brief case. You could get your nursing graduate a gift certificate to get new uniforms. You can think of a great gift for just about any major out there.

A Party
If you are truly stumped on a gift to give, then go a completely different route and throw them a party to celebrate their accomplishments. You can make it as simple or as grand as you like. Most recent graduates might enjoy a backyard cookout, but if you prefer something nicer, then feel free to host a sit down dinner. You could also rent out a space for a movie night or karaoke party. The options are almost limitless.

These are just a start to some more unique ideas you can give your graduate and that they will actually appreciate. More than anything else, a nice card with words of congratulations can let them know you are proud of their accomplishments and are thinking about them. Sometimes recognition is the only gift needed.


Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening.

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