Top Ten Gift Ideas for College Freshmen

A college student wearing flannel in the library

Starting one’s freshman year in college is a big deal and one that deserves recognition. This is especially true after a year where college students had to deal with quarantines, online courses, and COVID testing. So, naturally, parents and friends alike want to celebrate the moment and help them anyway they can. And one of the best ways to provide gifts that meet the many freshman needs. But what are the best college freshman gifts to buy? Which ones are ones they will truly need?

Certainly, it helps to know the specifics when choosing college freshman gifts. One freshman needs an entire new wardrobe while another needs cookware. But even if you don’t know precisely which college freshman gifts are the best, some freshman needs are nearly universal. With that in mind, the following are ten of the top college freshman gifts to consider as that first day of school approaches.

  1. Paving the Way for Academic Success – Study Aides

Some of the obvious freshman needs include items that can help them do well in their studies. Therefore, one of the best college freshman gifts might be a laptop lap-desk or noise-cancelling headphones. Students tend to study on the go, and a laptop lap-desk can come in handy. At the same time, noise-cancelling headphones help them stay focused no matter where they are. These types of gifts allow freshmen to get started on the right foot.

  1. Fuel for the Mind – A College Cookbook

Most freshman have not yet acquired many cooking skills, much less mastered a set of recipes. Therefore, giving a recent high school grad a college cookbook with easy-to-prepare meals is another consideration. Not only will this help them gain skills in the kitchen, but it will also help them stay on a budget. In this way, this gift option allows students to meet more than one of their freshman needs.

  1. A Campus Essential – An All-Purpose Backpack

While many textbooks have moved online, your average freshman needs a quality backpack to transport items. This not only includes their laptop and other course materials but likewise other devices, chargers, clothes, and more. As a result, one of the best college freshman gifts might be an all-purpose backpack. One that’s versatile, durable, and lightweight could easily last them well past their college years.

  1. Making Room for Some Downtime – A Comfy Hammock

All work and no play makes college students quite miserable. Making room in the schedule for some down-time is thus important. With this in mind, one of the more thoughtful college freshman gifts might be a portable hammock. Pitching one of these outside on campus might provide a much-needed respite from classes and the books. Every freshman needs to balance their hard efforts with some relaxation, and this gift might be ideal in this regard.

  1. Meeting Mobility Needs – Bicycles and Scooters

Depending on the student, freshman needs regarding campus mobility might vary. Some prefer scooters, others bicycles, and some electric skateboards. In any case, getting quickly from class to class without the hassle of parking or long walks is often appreciated. Therefore, one of the most useful college freshman gifts might

  1. Social Icebreakers – Cards and Board Games

College is not only a time to learn, study, and choose a future career. It’s also an important time to develop social skills. As a result, another consideration for college freshman gifts might also involve games and activities they can do with others. Games like Jenga, Charades, and Cards Against Humanity are among those you might choose to meet these social freshman needs.

  1. Independent Living Necessities – A Complete Toolset

For students moving away from home for college, they will feel a sense of independence and freedom. But with this comes new responsibilities, including fixing a few odds and ends from time to time. Therefore, one of the most useful college freshman gifts for some students might be a complete tool set. Every freshman needs to know how to repair some items, which makes a toolset a necessity.

  1. Tunes on the Go – A Portable Speaker or Ear Buds

Everyone appreciates a little music in their lives, and college freshman are no different. Music can be inspirational, relaxing or energizing, depending on the situation. Therefore, music and audio devices also represent great college freshman gifts that might be considered. Music gift cards are one way to go. Or a waterproof portable speaker with Bluetooth or high-quality ear buds are certain to please.

  1. Healthy Body, Healthy Mind – Dorm Workout Basics


Most colleges and universities have gyms and fitness centers for students to use. But even so, workout equipment and amenities still reflect important freshman needs. In addition to athletic shoes and clothing, other exercise items might be considered as college freshman gifts. For example, yoga mats, hand weight sets, and meditation tapes are excellent gift options. Depending on their specific interests, any of these might be a good choice.

  1. Bath and Body – From Bath Gifts to Laundry Aides

For high school students, a clutter-free room and laundry may not be top priorities. But as they go off to college, they quickly appreciate the importance of clean clothes and a tidy dorm room. Likewise, they also increasingly realize good social impressions require proper hygiene. With this in mind, bath and body supplies are always excellent college freshmen gift ideas. This includes laundry accessories as well as how-to instructions for doing laundry.

The above list of college freshman gifts is not meant to be all-inclusive. However, it does offer many items designed to meet some of the most common freshman needs. Personalizing these gifts is always a great idea, as it shows just how thoughtful you were in making your selection. In any case, your college freshman will appreciate your support as they open this next chapter of their life. And making things easier with the right college items will help them better perform in their new school setting.


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Through timely and thoughtful articles, the book Project Bold Life: The Proven Formula to Take on Challenges and Achieve Happiness and Success, and other media, we deliver engaging content that educates, motivates and inspires you to live a Bold Life.
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