15 Gifts for College Students That They’ll Actually Use

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Finding gifts for college students can be tough. Luckily, we have you covered. These gifts are not only something most college kids want, but they’re also things they basically need. These options will make any student happy and most will make their lives easier.

And always remember: as long as they’re getting something for free almost any college kid will be gracious, no matter the gift.

1. Shower Sandals

While they may not be very stylish, shower sandals are essential for college students who share bathrooms. They’re comfortable, functional, and will keep feet off of the floors of communal showers. They’re a lifesaver for freshmen, but usually not necessary for upperclassmen who might have their own place.

2. Recipes Every College Student Should Know

For many students, college is the first time they’ll have to consistently cook their own meals, which is why Christine Nelson’s simple college-oriented cookbook should be a mainstay in college kitchens. There are simple guides, like cooking bacon properly, and more complex meals like breakfast burritos for the advanced chefs. Cooking is a great skill to pick up in college, and this can help. While this pocket-sized recipe guide can get you to whip up any meal at any time, other cookbooks like this healthy College Cookbook or The 5-Ingredient College Cookbook can make you a master chef in no time. Once you graduate from noodles and takeout, meal prep and fine dining are next.

3. Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones

There are times when students need nothing but silence so they can focus and hit the books, but it can be hard to find peace and quiet on campus. That is unless you have these COWIN E7 Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones. These headphones can help anyone focus through any noise, whether its a party going on downstairs or a loud talker in the library. Plus, they’re wireless so you won’t need to be tied to your phone or laptop while listening to music. These headphones come in six colors and there’s a $10 coupon through Amazon.

4. Anker Portable Phone Charger

Considering how important phones are to college students today, a reliable portable charger is one of the best gifts you can give. There’s nothing worse than being stuck on campus without a charger or away from outlets, but a portable charger gives students the ability to power up wherever they are. When fully charged, the portable can provide about three and a half full iPhone batteries and two and a half Samsung charges. You can get it in black, blue, white or red depending on what you prefer.

5. Rapid Ramen Cooker

Ramen is a staple of any college student’s diet. It’s easy to make, cooks fast and tastes good enough, but the Rapid Ramen Cooker makes everything much easier. The microwavable, diswasher-safe cooker lasts for up to five years and can deliver the perfect noodles in just a few minutes every time.

6. Leatherbound Journal

While any notebook makes a good, practical gift for a college student, this leatherbound journal is an awesome gift for anyone that still prefers pen and paper. It can function as anything – a personal journal, a class notebook, a daily agenda – and is compact enough to bring just about anywhere. If you’re still not sold, the reviews are outstanding. One user even wrote “Gorgeous and highest quality. It makes me want to think deep thoughts.” How much more convincing could you need?

7. MATEIN Backpack

Every college student needs a good backpack, and this MATEIN bag comes with some perks that are perfect for them. The bag includes a laptop compartment as well as an easy-access USB port so you can run a wire from your bag to your phone. You’ll need your own portable charger in your bag, but the port makes it possible to charge your phone while using it around campus. The bag is also one of Amazon’s picks for best college student backpacks, and reviewers agree. One user wrote “If I could give this backpack 10 stars I would. It completely exceeded my expectations in quality, design, color, and price.”

8. Variety Snack Pack

Food is a precious resource for any student, and this snack pack makes the perfect gift. With healthier fruit snacks, chips, cookies, and candy, this variety box makes the perfect care package for a student grinding through finals week. And it’s a great value – 50 items for just $25.99. That adds up to three pounds of treats, which should be enough to get through even the most draining week of school.

9. Yeti 30oz Rambler

The YETI Rambler is basically a modern-day Holy Grail – it’s the pinnacle of cups. It can carry 30 ounces of any beverage you like, and keep coffee hot and water cold for hours. Plus, the MagSlider Lid makes it basically spill-proof. While all college students could use a good water bottle, the Rambler is the best option. The Rambler comes in 20 (!) different colors, so you’re sure to find the perfect one for you.

10. Genesis Desktop/Clip Fan

It’s nearly impossible to control the temperature of most dorm rooms, meaning in the late Spring and early Fall it can get unbearably hot in the room. That’s why the Genesis fan is such a lifesaver. The fan is quiet, cool, and comes with an adjustable clip so you can attach it to any surface. That way you can leave it on your desk, or clip it somewhere else when you need more space. It’s a dorm must-have.

11. Dorm Room Laundry Kit

Much like cooking, college kids might be adjusting to doing laundry alone for the first time. While you can’t help them actually load the washer, this dorm room laundry kit can help them get halfway there. The value pack comes with detergent, fabric softener and a hamper for just $17.95.

12. Kan Jam

On a warm day on campus, there’s nothing like bringing Kan Jam outside and playing with a few friends. It’s the perfect game for college kids since it’s simple to set up, easy to play, and takes up almost no space in storage. It’s perfect for students at warm-weather schools who can play year-round, but it makes a great gift for anyone.

13. Portable Bluetooth Speaker

The OontZ Angle 3 Bluetooth Speaker is a dorm essential. With a connectivity range of 100 feet, you can be the life of the party or just relax in your dorm with some high-quality sound. The speaker also comes in seven colors, plus a custom Coca-Cola design for a few extra bucks. The standard speaker is $25, which is great value for the sound quality it provides. You and your friends will be shouting “OONTZ OONTZ OONTZ” when this speaker starts going.

14. Bedside Caddy

The bedside caddy is a functional, stylish pouch that can slide right onto your bed frame and hold all your valuables close to you. It’s perfect for stashing your phone while you sleep and keeping your alarm close by, or keeping books for any late-night readers. The caddy has four pockets and is made of reinforced felt, meaning it’s built to last.

15. Reading Pillow

Late night studying is just part of college, but it doesn’t need to be so uncomfortable. The average dorm room chair isn’t exactly great for your posture, but a comfortable reading pillow can make studying less painful. The pillow comes in three sizes:

  • 14 inches for $21.99
  • 18 inches for $36.99
  • 24 inches for $59.99

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