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Young college students headed off to school have a lot of decisions to make. Once a young person leaves high school, they have to find a new tribe all on their own; such choices can be stressful and take a lot of their decision making power. The right gifts can make life easier for them at home.


If you can find out what mattress size comes with their dorm room, treat a young college student to quality sheets, fluffy towels and a warm comforter. Consider also sending them a set of blackout curtains they can mount that can help them get quality sleep. In addition to sheets and a comforter, send with a few different pillows; the student may enjoy studying in bed for a change of pace. Finally, if a college student accustomed to hot weather is headed up north, include a warm, snuggly fleece blanket for cold nights.

School Gear

A first-time college student may not have the budget for gear with the school logo. Tees, sweatshirts, totes and custom laptop cases featuring their school emblem and mascot can be a great way to help your teen be more excited about starting their first college semester.

Get them a fun tee for moving in a day. Check out stocking caps, socks and scarves. Take budget burdens off their list of concerns and let them show off their school pride! For a special treat, have it waiting at their college bookstore checkout for them; they can pick it up when they get their other supplies picked up.


An uber-practical but really helpful gift starts with a laundry basket. Inside the basket, place

  • dish soap
  • unscented laundry soap
  • unscented dryer sheets
  • a lotion and body wash set
  • a bottle of basic spray cleaner
  • shop towels

None of this needs to be fancy, but if you can tuck a bath sheet and a hair towel into this bundle you can cover them for most any need if they run out of a consumable product. Do make sure the laundry basket is quite rugged; they may be able to use it for years!

Food and Cooking Tools

Another laundry basket can contain cooking gear and food. Include simple but easy to forget items, such as a

You can class it up with a single cup coffee maker, a hot pot and a portable phone battery. Because caffeine is commonly known as a coffee food group, consider also including a portable espresso press they can carry to class for an early morning jolt.

A container of shelf-stable snacks can also be helpful. Ramen is always popular, but including healthy granola bars, protein rich tuna and cracker packs, and dried fruits can keep them from always heading to the vending machine when hungry.

Because food waste can draw bugs and not every student can get to the bins on a regular basis, do include a sealed trash container in their gift basket. A metal can with a lid and heavy duty trash bags can always come in handy and, again, may serve them for years after college is done.


A young person may have a favorite shampoo or body wash. Razors and feminine hygiene products can be quite costly when money is tight and schedules are pressing. Consider setting up a regular subscription of their favorite consumable products right to their dorm room door to take off the pressure to shop.

In a similar vein, consider setting up a refillable gift card for your favorite college student. Rather than giving cash or a lump sum payment in celebration of their high school graduation, a monthly gift card can help them make better choices or have the cash they need to cover their monthly needs.


A young person headed for college will learn a great deal about themselves in those first few years. Your practical gifts can help them manage the basics of daily living and learn to manage their money for the long term. Not everything you give a young person needs to be wrapped up in the prettiest paper or the biggest bow. One hearty plastic tub or basket can be a great gift delivery device.