College Student Gifts

It’s often hard to shop for kids once their a little older, but it doesn’t have to be. As the high schoolers get ready to head to college and life on their own, there are lots of little things they’ll need to get their footing. We try to group these gift ideas in different categories here on this blog, based on the college student’s interests. Enjoy!

Gifts for the Geek III: Revenge of the Fun Geeky Gifts

Not everything a geek does has a practical reason behind it. Geeks like to have fun too – in their own way. So in this post I will be presenting some fun geeky gifts that are a little silly but a lot of fun. Click on the link in each description to get more info!

Star Trek Electronic Door Chime

Lets start off with the Star Trek Electronic Door Chime. This gadget would make a great gift for the Trekkie in your life and  non-Trekkies will enjoy it too. Anyone who has their own room, really! This door chime can be set to respond with a door opening sound or a Red Alert sound from Star Trek which will add some character to your geek’s room at warp speed.


Schrödinger’s Cat Executive Decision Maker

As your geek journeys through his/her college career there will certainly be many decisions that he/she will have to make. Some of these decisions will be ones that need time and effort, while others will be much less crucial (“should I eat tacos today?” falls into the less crucial category). For these less important decisions get your geek the Schrödinger’s Cat Executive Decision Maker. Ask a “yes” or “no” question, open the door of this gadget, and let Schrödinger’s cat make that decision for you. Your physics fans will absolutely appreciate this gift.


Mason Jar Speaker Amplifier

College is usually a place where your musical tastes will probably go through a major revamping for better or worse. A great gift for a freshman geek is a way to play all their music in the  geekiest way possible. Enter the Mason Jar Speaker Amplifier!  This completely self contained speaker/amplifier will allow your geek to take their music anywhere with them and look pretty cool while doing so.

geeky speaker/amplifer

Floppy Disk Drink Coasters

Looking for a cheap gift that is both a fun and useful gift? Check out these Floppy Disk Drink Coasters. Not only will this soft cushion prevent your drink from leaving residue on tables but it also a really cool geeky accessory.


Featured image from HJ Media Studios.

Gifts for Music Lovers (Speakers)

Nothing says more about your personality in college than the music you listen to,whether it’s AC/DC or the Jonas Brothers.  The ideal speakers for college student are active/powered speakers, which means they have built-in amplifiers and don’t require a bulky and expensive receiver. You can also connect these speakers to iPods or laptops directly. Here are some ideas:

Hands Down Best Value – Cyber Acoustics

speakers for dorm room









This three-piece speaker system comes with two satellite speakers and a subwoofer. It also has desktop control pod which controls power, volume, and bass, with headphone jack and auxiliary input. It simply doesn’t get better than this for a system under $50.

Cute Look Leading Edge Water Dancing Speakers

speakers for dorm room











These speakers might not have the most robust build or sound quality, but they are sooooo cool! Your melody will be perfectly matched with dancing water and multicolor LED lights. Perfect for the freshman that loves to entertain in their dorm room.

Best Quality –  Bose Companion 5 Multimedia

speakers for dorm room











A virtual 5.1 sound system with only 3 speakers, these Bose speakers produce so much bass that they’re almost as powerful as PA speakers. It uses simple USB connectivity, so no sound card upgrade, no extra software, adapters or wiring needed.  With these speakers, your freshman can easily turn his dorm room into a club. The only downside is that these may lead to noise complaints…

Best Quality for a Lot Less – Harman Kardon Soundsticks III

speakers for dorm room










These Harman Kardon speakers offer pretty much everything that the Bose set does, except for the surround sound effects, for less than half the price. If not for the sound quality, the space age jelly fish look will certainly put a smile on your favorite freshman’s face.

Gifts for Music Lovers (Headphones)

“Do you like music?”

“Do you like breathing?” was Emma Roberts’ (or any other typical teenagers’) response in movie It’s Kind of a Funny Story. Very few things are more important to young adults than enjoying music on-the-go. Why not help them do so in style?

Headphones have become more of a fashion accessory these days. Not only do they need to deliver superb sound, they also need to look good too. If your freshman listens mainly rock and hip-pop, these headphones will make great gifts.

Beats by Dr Dre is famous for their powerful lows and stylish design, although they are pretty pricey.

headphones for college students











Bose headphones are known for their Noise Cancelling® features. If your freshman will travel a lot in college, such as athletes, then these Bose QuietComfort® 15 headphones are the right choice for you.

headphones for college students







If your freshman is more of a classical music lover and enjoys sound quality more than the looks, then consider these brands:

Sennheiser offers a wide range from consumer to high-fidelity (hifi) products. The German company was established short after WWII and is known for their accurate yet smooth delivery of all ranges. The PX 200 II is a classic model for portable on-ear headphones and they are also significantly cheaper than many other options.

headphones for college students











Audio-Technica, in my opinion, is the best option for classical and human voice listening experiences. If your freshman enjoys listening to Norah Jones in the sun, then check out these ATHESW9A wooden headphones. I particularly like the comment from Ethan. B., on Amazon, “I can now hear EVERYTHING in any given song. Kind of crazy how many noises and counter-melodies can be super quiet and sometimes unnoticeable in lower quality headphones than these”. Wooden housings made of African Padauk also gives these headphones a super classic look:

headphones for college students











Feature image from Nickolai Kashirin.

Gifts for the Geek II: Attack of the Practical Geeky Gifts

After all the fun I had finding the geeky gifts for the first post, I couldn’t resist creating an Episode II for it. With that said, here are some cool and practical gifts for your slightly geeky freshman.

Star Wars R2-D2 Folding Armchair

I definitely wish someone had told me to bring an extra chair to my dorm room my freshman year since it is always nice to be able to offer your guests somewhere to sit down. This geeky gift is one any geek, especially a Star Wars geek, will appreciate. With the Star Wars R2-D2 Folding Armchair, your freshman will not only have an easy to move chair in his room for guests but also a cool decoration that testifies to his/her geekiness.

R2-D2 folding chair - Gifts for the Geeky Freshman

Charging Tools

With the large role technology plays in our lives nowadays, chances are your freshman owns a phone and laptop and as a geek he/she probably owns many other gadgets that need will need to be charged.  Keeping all of our gadgets charged in the least bothersome way possible is a constant battle but it is one we can win… with the right gadgets. Sometimes more gadgets is the answer!

One of these tools is the Plug Hub. With this device, you can help to prevent the annoying occurrence of the mess of tangled up power cords under a desk.

plug hub - Gifts for the Geeky Freshman

To make your geek’s experience with charging his/her number of gadgets even better, check out the Tech Dock by Quirky. This device allows you to charge 4 of your your USB charged devices with only one power outlet. It also looks really slick, very much like an Apple device.

Quirky Docking Station - Gifts for the Geeky Freshman

Organ Transport Lunch Cooler

Finally for that geeky freshman who enjoys bringing his/her own food to lunch, especially if living off campus, I’ve got the perfect lunch cooler for you. With the Organ Transport Lunch Cooler, your freshman will definitely spark some conversations at the lunch table. Lets be honest – bringing a cool lunch bag to school used to be one of the coolest things you could do and still kind of is.

organ transport lunch bag - Gifts for the Geeky Freshman

Featured image by

Gifts for the Future Unemployed “Philosophers”

Do you have that nephew who always brings “big questions” to the family diner table? Does he also have a huge sketch of Nietzsche hanging from his ceiling like Paul Dano in Little Miss Sunshine?  Let’s put a smile on his face before college.

First of all, never get him a book. Philosophers tend to be pretty selective about “presentable” books, so whatever book you give him will probably end up on the bottom shelf and  be known as “the stupid book my aunt gave me once”.

Now, let take a look at some better options:

Little Thinkers

gifts for philosopher











Your freshman philosopher might get lonely on a “shallow” college campus, so get him a doll to play with! This Socrates doll stands a mighty 11 inches tall and appears full of wisdom with his white hair, beard, and toga. It’s also a great conversation starter when people visit his room.

Harmless T-shirts

gifts for philosopher











“Nietzsche loved kitties. Thus Meowed Zarathustra.” Funny philosophy T shirts can also be a great gift for your freshman. Since an average college student won’t do laundry until he runs out of underwear, one can never have too many T-shirts, especially the ones can get his personality across.

Philosophy Magazines (Not Journals)

gifts for philosopher











Aren’t magazines for people who can’t read a real book? Absolutely! Think of these as People Magazine for your favorite philosophers. After all, everyone needs some light reading, even the brainiacs. Philosophy Now  “aims to corrupt innocent citizens by convincing them that philosophy can be exciting, worthwhile and comprehensible, and also to provide some light and enjoyable reading matter for those already ensnared by the muse, such as philosophy students and academics.” It comes out every two months and has an annual subscription fee of only $32! The Philosophers Magazine is another great choice, which is an “independent quarterly, devoted to presenting great philosophical work in an accessible and entertaining format”.

Feature image from J.D. Falk.

Gifts for the Ones Driving Away in Their First Car

There are a thousand things to worry about while watching your favorite freshman drive off to college. Don’t let auto safety be one of them!

iPhone Mount

Still thinking of getting your freshman a bulky GPS? Newsflash: since the invention of smartphones, nobody uses them anymore! If their iPhones and Galaxies insist on guiding them around an unfamiliar college town, let them do so safely and in style! There are numerous iPhone mounts on the market, such as these two:

Koomus K2 Mount:

gifts for new drivers











The Koomus can be used both as a windshield and dashboard mount, so it’s ideal for places where windshield mounts are illegal. The mount can rotate 360 degrees and has 3M gel pad that can be easily cleaned in water and easily reattached after several uses.

If you’re looking for a more modern look, I recommend the Steelie.

gifts for new drivers











The Steelie utilizes both an adhesive pad and a high-tech magnet to secure your phone, even with a case! If you want to see a few more options, Mashable had a pretty good blog on the subject.

Tire Pressue Gauge

Ask any experienced drivers and they’ll tell you that having the proper tire pressure is the ultimate safety issue second only to brakes.  Get your freshman a tire pressure gauge and make sure they know how to use it. It’ll teach them to be responsible for their cars and themselves. Check out the CarTalk post if you’re not familiar with subject yourself.

Pressure gauges are so essential that you’re likely to find them at any auto parts shops, such as your local O’Reilly’s. However, there’s also digital options such as the Michelin MN-12279 Tire Gauge:

gifts for new drivers










This model comes with LED lights, a storage pouch, and has a display resolution of 0.1 PSI.

Auto Repair for Dummies

Every driver should know the basics of his/her car. Auto Repair for Dummies offers a wide range of topics, from a basic understanding of automotive systems to basic repair and maintenance.

gifts for new drivers











With the help of this book, your freshman will know how to handle emergencies, work with a mechanic, and much more.

New Driver Sticker

gifts for new drivers





The picture is pretty self-explanatory.  Believe it or not, it really can help make the road a safer place!

Feature image from Wikimedia.

Gifts for the Artist in Training

College is arguably the best time for artsy types- personal freedom, a fairly liberal environment, and little financial pressure.  Their lives are still full of possibilities, and their minds can still run wild with imagination! Here are some gift ideas for the budding artist heading off to college.

Muses: Women Who Inspire

gifts for young artist











Does your artist always complain that life is boring and he needs inspiration? Well, get him a muse.  Muses: Women Who Inspire tells the stories of  “thirty-three women who enthralled society’s artistic geniuses and thus inspired the creation of some of the greatest works of the past two centuries”. The author, Farid Hamed Abdelouahab, is an art and photography historian. The book contains some breathtakingly beautiful photographs and artwork. This book is sure to provide some gorgeous inspiration!


gifts for young artist

Lomo is a new type of point-and-shoot photography developed in Europe during the 90s. The cameras have no motors (usually), no light meters, no exposure controls, and the lens are usually made out of plastic. These factors are largely responsible for the “high-contrast photographs – with unusual saturation and color”. Why should you buy these cameras then? Well, they’re artistic and unique. Literally no two lomo are alike since all of the lens are “flawed” differently.

This camera will make an awesome gift for your artsy freshman. He/she can use lomo pictures to upload on Facebook, decorate their rooms, and even as part of their collage for an art class. They’ll quickly dive into the art scene on campus and fully explore their artistic side. And the best part is, since lomos are a bit low-tech, these cameras are super cheap! An average lomo picture looks something like this (from Elsamuko):

gifts for young artist


Apple Jacket

gifts for young artist











Let’s face it, your artsy freshman probably knows how to style up the most mundane things.  To stay on that track, this hand-knit apply jacket on Esty is made of 100% acrylic, is machine washable and dryable, and is ridiculously adorable.

Plus, he’ll never eat a bruised apple again!

Feature image from The Guardian.

Gifts for the Geek

Most geeks are true geeks if they have some sort of obsession that runs their lives. True geeks don’t see their geekiness as a source of shame, but rather, a mark of pride. One of the really fun perks to being a geek are the many different geeky accessories we can use to flaunt our geekiness.

Here are some great gifts to give the proud, self-proclaimed geek in your family:

Geeky Watch/Clock

Since the birth of the term “geek,” it seemed like there were a few accessories every geek must have. Besides glasses, the most obvious accessory is a watch.

But to take your geekiness up a notch, try a watch where the numbers are represented with different math terms including a factorial, binary, cube root, and of course modular arithmetic (also known as clock arithmetic).  It doesn’t get much geekier than that!

Geeky Watch

Similarly, you can get your geeky freshman’s new dorm room the geek clock.


Geeky clcok


Toxic Waste Drum Laundry Basket

One item all college students need is a laundry basket, which is why this next geeky gift, the Toxic Waste Drum Laundry Basket, is one a freshman will love. Nothing spices up ones room like a good toxic waste bin.   After all, we all know geeks never have time to wash their clothes, right?


Bracer of Battery Life +2 (Universal Gadget Wrist Charger)

One thing most geeks share in common is a love for technology. So when your freshman’s tech device runs out of battery when he/she is on the go, you know he will NOT be happy. The Universal Gadget Wrist Charger, aka the Bracer of Battery Life +2, is a gift that will allow your geeky freshman to take his/her tech device anywhere without worrying about it running out of battery life. This portable charging device charges cell phones, mp3 players, gaming systems, and any device that is compatible with a mini USB. Plus it looks pretty darn cool (I can’t be the only who thinks it looks like something straight out a comic book).



The Clutch for iPad

The next item on our list is one for the chic geek girl. The Clutch for iPad is a great gift for any geeky girl with an iPad2/iPad3. With this accessory, a chic geek can hold everything she loves on the go plus her iPad. According to the creators of this great accessory:

Basically, it’s perfect. Not only will it keep your iPad happy, but it will keep you organized too. There are pockets for cash and change, credit cards, business cards, pens, a stylus and a mobile phone. Plus, you’ll still have room in the larger pocket for your lipgloss, sunglasses, passport, keys and more!

iPad Clutch

Featured image by Larry Wentzel



Gifts for the Nephew that is Too-Cool-For-School

Your nephew just graduated from high school and is heading to college, and you can’t wait to get him a a great gift.  You offer to get him some cool posters to decorate his new dorm room, but he just rolls his eyes (in this thick-rimmed non-prescription glasses), scoffs, and says, “Posters?  The bands I listen to are too underground to have posters.”

You’re left there, stumped, half thinking “kids these days,” half wondering – what in the world do you get your nephew that is clearly too cool for school?

Luckily, we have excellent suggestions for gifts for your hipster, new-to-college nephew.  They are practical, affordable, and totally not mainstream.

1. Leather Backpack

Every student needs a backpack to lug around those heavy textbooks.  This leather backpack is way more stylish than your typical backpack, but still less obscure than the popular tote bag.  This canvas backpack is another great alternative.

hipster giftshipster gifts


2. Coffee (from the right cafes)

Coffee is definitely a major element to the life of the hipster, but its even more necessary in college.  However, giving the hipster a Starbucks gift card is completely the wrong move – he would never be caught dead in somewhere so commercialized!  Try gifting coffee from these hipster favorites – Stumptown, Philz Coffee, and Intelligentsia.  These cafes can only be found in cities like San Francisco, Chicago, New York, and Portland – in other words, hipster central cities.

hipster giftshipster giftshipster gifts

Additionally, this personal coffee maker (& travel mug!) will work great in a dorm room:

hipster gifts


3. A ridiculous graphic t-shirt

Every too-cool-for-school hipster owns a graphic-t with a witty pun that matches his/her own snarky sense of humor.  This t-shirt? Ridiculous, adorable, and funny.

hipster gifts


4. A loose, denim button up

The classic mistake gift that hipsters always receive is a flannel shirt.  Flannel shirts are for mainstream, wannabe hipsters.  Real hipsters wear denim.

hipster giftshipster gifts

These denim shirts (for females or males) are soft, high quality, and perfect for the effortless look that every hipster goes for.

Can you think of some really obscure, underground gifts?  Let us know by leaving a comment below!

Feature image from Cubmundo.

Gifts for Sporty Freshman

College is all about work–life balance. Let your sporty freshman take on their first year with some neat sports related gear.

GoPro for the Extreme Sports Lover

gifts for active freshmen

GoPro is a shock and water proof camera designed for outdoor activities and extreme sport such as biking, snowboarding, swimming, surfing, kayaking and even hiking. These cameras can shoot videos in Full-HD (30fps for 1080p and 60fps for 720p) and can take picture at up to a 12 megapixel resolution. They also have WiFi connectivity and come with WiFi remotes. The cameras are, even the older models, a bit on the pricy side ($200-$400), but if your favorite freshman is an outdoor enthusiast, there really can’t be a more perfect gift. Check out the sick video below for a sneak preview of what this baby can do:

Performance Monitor Watch

gifts for active freshmen











It doesn’t matter if your freshman is a cardio machine or does weight training 6 days a week, a solid trainer watch will definitely make the workout more effective and fun. It tracks heart rate, current speed, average speed, pace, average pace, distance, calories and more in real time.  It’s also water proof so swimmers can benefit from this watch as well. Although trainer watches are usually pretty bulky, this model is small enough to be used as an everyday watch.

Team Merchandise

Is your freshman a die-hard Dallas Cowboy fan? Or is he a loyal Celtics fan? There is no better way to show off your loyalty than watching the game in your team jersey, especially if they are away from their home teams.

gifts for active freshmen











However, Jerseys are usually pretty expensive. If you think a team jersey is a little out of your price range. Try one of these team caps. It’s significantly cheaper and your freshman can wear it whenever they want. Hair’s too messy and there’s not time to wash up before class? No problem, just put on a hat and you’re good to go.

gifts for active freshmen











Feature image from Wikimedia.