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Top Holiday Gifts for College Students

The holidays are quickly approaching and it’s time to think creatively about gifts for your college student.  We’ve assembled some ideas for you that speak to the particular needs and wants of college students, while accounting for their idiosyncratic living arrangements. For added convenience, these stellar stocking stuffers and boxable gifts are listed by student year, but feel free to mix and match. Happy giving!

For Freshmen

up-water-bottle2 Brita Water Bottle, $16

Hydration is key to health and health is key to academic success, but good water habits can fall by the wayside in college. If she is drinking enough water, she might be spending a fortune on the bottled stuff and feeling guilty about plastic waste. Give your freshman this clever water bottle with an integrated filter so she can fill up at any tap with confidence.

Coffee Maker Brew & Go Coffee Maker, $25

Coffee tends to get a bad or good rap depending upon the decade. Right now it’s flying high as a booster of concentration, motivation, and overall good health. If your student loves a good cup but can’t afford spendy coffee shops, here’s your gift. This personal coffee maker is small, has a reusable filter, and comes with a sleek thermal mug.

 spa wrap Spa Wraps, $37

We’re bringing back this item from last year’s list because it is so apropos for college women. Feeling cozy, covered and cute when going to the shower is a luxury anywhere, but especially in shared dormitory and apartment spaces. Check out the adorable sleep masks here too – perfect for shutting out the madness of communal living.

For Sophomores

yoga mat Personalized Yoga Mat, $89

For college students, yoga offers significant benefits: Stress reducer? Check. Concentration enhancer? Check. Community builder? Check. Inspire your student to strike up a downward dog more often with a personalized yoga mat. You can upload a favorite image, or choose one from the stunning gallery.

Spotify Spotify Membership, $5/month

One of the best offers we’ve seen this holiday season is Spotify’s unlimited, ad-free music streaming service just for students, offered at only $5/month. With this membership, your student can stream or download songs from the company’s massive catalog. Music lovers will likely tune into this gift every day, and they may just think of you every time they do.

external hard drive External Hard Drive, $54

Term papers, lists, notes, music, photographs; for today’s student, most of these assets never exist in physical form. It’s important to protect them. While a cloud back up service can be great, it’s worthless if your student loses Internet access the night before a paper is due. This sleek external hard drive will keep your student’s data safe, secure and well at hand.

For Juniors

Travel Study Abroad, $ Varies

All or part of junior year is often spent in another country, and the costs can add up quickly. If your student’s travel fund needs a boost, most commercial airlines offer gift cards.

Southwest | United | American

spice rack Spice Kit, $39

Junior year is when many students venture off campus into apartment living and start cooking for themselves. A house-warming present is a good choice. This compact spice kit is stocked with the most frequently used spices to help punch-up everything from ramen noodles to baked potatoes.

Car Safety Kit Auto Essentials$ Varies

Junior year is also when many students will bring a car to campus. Help your student stay safe on the road with a car tool kit (this one is from AAA), AAA membership, and gas gift card.

recorder Lecture Recorder, $200

For some students, it’s hard to take good notes while trying to absorb the finer points of a lecture, especially in complicated subjects. Sony offers the ultimate hand-held voice recorder for lectures, labs, meetings and the like. This fully digital device features sensitive microphones and high recording quality. MP3 compatibility means play back is easy on devices like iPods. It’s advisable for your student to check in with their professor before recording lectures.

For Seniors

gift cards $$ and Gift Cards, $ Varies

There are so many things college seniors are on the brink of needing as graduation gets closer, things like a professional wardrobe and money to help with relocation expenses. With your holiday gift of a retail or cash gift card, they can start building their launch egg now.

Business Cards Swank Personal Cards, $30

For many seniors, networking and job searching is already well underway. These elegant personal cards will help cement the great first impression they make. Printed on luxe paper and designed by independent designers, every order comes with a complimentary card holder.

36 Hours 36 Hours USA & Canada, $28

Here’s a great gift for the senior who wants to plan an unforgettable summer tour. This compilation of great weekend trips features locations throughout the US and Canada. It covers everything from restaurants to hotels and surprising discoveries in over 150 destinations.

up-computer-gift New Computer, $ Varies

After three and a half years as a college workhorse, your student’s computer may be ready for an upgrade. While it’s a shame to spoil the surprise, be sure to check in with him to discuss what options he wants and needs in a new machine.

Cloud9 Affiliate discount Give an Experience, $ Varies

Why not help your student check something amazing off their bucket list? Cloud9 Living has gift cards that can be used everything from flight lessons and hot air balloon rides, to cooking or chocolate making classes. You can get $10 off by using our affiliate link before April 1 (UniversityParent gets a commission for purchases made through this affiliate link. This is the only affiliate link in the gift guide). $10 Off all Experiences

Did you enjoy reading this article? Sign up for UniversityParent’s weekly eNewsletter and purchase the Guide to Supporting Your Student’s Freshman Year for additional tips, insight, and to help your college student succeed. You may also add to the discussion and get feedback from fellow college parents by joining our Community Forum and College Parents’ Facebook group.

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