Graduation season is upon us. Now is the time to find that perfect gift for the important graduate in your life. Whether your loved one is graduating from a two-year program, a four-year program, or has completed an advanced degree, it’s important to give them a gift that shows how proud you are of their academic achievements. Here are ten great gift ideas for the recent college grad in your life.
Want more great gift ideas? Check out our post on the best gifts for women, or read our guide to the best gifts for men. If you are currently a student, you may want to take advantage of Amazon’s Prime Student Free Trial. You’ll get six months of Prime Student for free, which includes perks like free movie streaming, free photo storage, early access to deals, free Audible content, free access to select ebooks, and free two-day shipping on over 50 million eligible items.
1. Moshi Venturo Laptop Bag
As your favorite college grad leaves academia and gets ready to enter the workforce, the number one item they’ll need is a solid laptop bag. We love the Moshi Venturo bag, which can be carried like a briefcase or worn over the shoulder like a backpack.
We’ve been able to go hands-on with this bag for several weeks now, and using it on a daily basis has definitely highlighted some of the perks (and drawbacks) of this particular bag. First, the good stuff. This bag has a weather-resistant surface treatment, making it able to stand up to rain quite well. The laptop compartment is padded, and supports laptops up to 15 inches. An exterior pocket is the perfect size for stashing a water bottle or an umbrella. All of the stitching is solidly done, with no stray strands or popped threads presenting themselves after extended use.
However, the depth of the bag was sometimes an issue. This bag does have a ton of storage space for those who are packing lots of flat items like a laptop, tablet, files, or books. That being said, the bag will definitely bow out a bit if you try to store bulky lunch containers or extra clothes inside. In addition, while the strap is nicely padded and easy to adjust, I personally found the Venturo’s strap to be slightly less comfortable than the strap on Moshi’s Urbana laptop bag. That being said, the Venturo’s strap is still pretty plush compared to unpadded straps you might have seen on other bags.
Overall, we recommend this bag for any college grad. It’s the perfect size for grads who are commuting to their first post-college job on a bike. The Venturo bag has a nice blend of professional and youthful elements, which makes it appealing to kids fresh out of college.
Price: $119.95-$149.95, depending on color selected
2. Stanley J5C09 1000 Peak Amp Jump Starter
If your college grad is planning to move to another state after graduation, you’ll want to make sure that their car is in peak condition before they hit the road. But just in case their car is a little old, you should give them a gift that they can use in an emergency. This jump starter kit will let anyone jump start a car, without needing another car nearby. The folks at Impecca provided a sample of this kit, which is designed to jump start cars and SUVs with 12V batteries.
This 8,000mah kit has a 400 amp peak current. When not being used to jump start a car, this gadget can also charge your mobile device. It’s also user-friendly, even for those who aren’t amazing at car stuff. In an actual emergency, it wouldn’t take long to wrap your head around how to operate the jump start kit.
Want to see more top-rated car jump starters? Check out our post on the five best car jump starters.
Price: $69.88 (30 percent off)
3. Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Tablet
Microsoft has been positioning the Surface Pro 3 as a MacBook killer, but it’s also potentially an iPad killer for some people as well. The Surface Pro 3 has the edge over the iPad Air 2 in terms of inputs, specs, and connectivity. Overall, this graduation gift is perfect for a business student who needs a gadget that’s part tablet and part laptop. There’s also a ton of different storage options to choose from, which is a nice perk for those who need more (or less) onboard storage.
The Surface Pro 3 is a good option for those on a limited budget. If you have a little more cash in hand, you might also consider the Surface Pro 4, or the Surface Book. You can get additional graduation gift ideas in our guide to the best graduation gifts for guys.
Price: $695 and up, depending on options selected
3. Moshi Kameleon Designer iPhone Case
Looking for a graduation gift that won’t break the bank? A phone case can actually be a really thoughtful gift, especially for a grad who is accident-prone. When your grad moves far away after college, you’ll probably want to stay in touch with them through phone calls or video chats. This cool case from Moshi has a built-in kickstand, which is great for all those long video chats over Skype. Moshi provided us with a sample of this case for our review.
This case feels nice in the hand, and the kickstand is remarkably sturdy. I really appreciated the way it locked into place, which is superior to many other iPhone cases I’ve seen out there that have flimsy kickstands. This is a lightweight, professional-looking phone case. To make this gift even more special, consider including a new smartphone with this case. This case is available for the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and iPhone 5/5s.
Want something even more rugged? Consider something from our list of the best waterproof iPhone cases.
5. Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss is a classic children’s book, but it’s also a perennially popular gift for college grads. It’s a wonderfully optimistic book that will definitely make your grad smile, no matter what their age.
Price: $10.81 (40 percent off MSRP)
6. Sterling Silver ‘The Journey Is The Reward’ Twisted Pendant
This elegant necklace is the perfect graduation gift for a young woman who doesn’t quite know what she’s doing after graduation. This necklace is a reminder that the destination isn’t what’s important after college: it’s all about the journey you’re embarking on. This sterling silver necklace is a thoughtful and affordable gift for new grads. You can browse more necklaces on sale here, if you’d like to get more gift inspiration.
Price: $25.06 (28 percent off MSRP)
7. EMTEC Power Connect Power Bank
Every grad needs a gadget to help them transition from student life to the business world, and this multi-tasking product offers a ton of different functions in one slim device. We were provided with a sample of this device, and we were impressed with its wide range of applications.
This 5200mAh mobile charger also offers onboard storage, eliminating the need for a thumb drive. You can easily upload, download, or manage files via microSD and USB. This is a device that will work with both iPhone and Android devices. You can also use this device to connect to the web, or even stream your music and movies via the EMTEC Connect mobile app, with up to five simultaneous streams for friends.
8. HP Stream 13 Laptop with Free Office 365 Personal for One Year
If your college grad has a laptop that’s on its last legs, a new laptop is a thoughtful graduation gift. But don’t sweat: you won’t have to break the bank to get them a new computer. This laptop comes with a free Office 365 Personal for one year and a terabyte of cloud storage. Your lucky grad also gets $25 to spend in the Microsoft App Store. This laptop has 2GB of DDR3L SDRAM, along with a fairly small 32 GB solid state drive. However, with so many college grads living and working in the cloud, a smaller hard drive isn’t really a problem.
Not sure this laptop is powerful enough for your grad? Browse more laptops on sale here.
9. Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office
Know a gal who’s just graduated college? This guidebook can help her develop the right attitude to excel in any business environment. Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office has been a valuable resource for women in business for over a decade. The revised and updated edition, Nice Still Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office, contains changes that make the book more relevant for today’s readers. Executive coach Lois P. Frankel offers a guide for women who need to change their behavior in order to get ahead at work. Some of her tips include getting more involved in office politics, using social media cautiously, and always taking the opportunity to negotiate.
10. Gift Cards
Let’s be honest. Most college grads are feeling pretty broke. Between student loans, the cost of relocating to their new job, and the expense of renting a new apartment, the average college grad’s ideal gift is probably cold hard cash. If cash doesn’t feel “gifty” enough to you, a gift card is also a stellar gift idea for a college grad.
One solid choice is Amazon, since there’s such a wide variety of stuff on the site. An Amazon gift card can be used for buying new clothes for work, defraying the cost a new laptop, or even buying groceries. You can choose a gift card for any amount between $0.50 and $2,000.
If you want to give another type of retailer-specific gift card, you can’t go wrong with gift cards to Starbucks, TGI Friday’s, or the Darden Group (which includes restaurants like Longhorn, Red Lobster, and the Olive Garden.) Food-related gift cards are great for grads who aren’t talented in the kitchen, or for grads who will be commuting a great distance to work each day and won’t have much time to cook at home.