Gifts for University Students Buying Guide


It is actually really easy to buy the perfect gift  for a university student, yet most people have no idea where to start. Whether you're buying a graduation gift , a birthday gift , a holiday gift  or a "just because" treat, this is your guide to finding exactly what your favourite university student wants.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Everyone is different. Unless you are buying a gift for a random student you have never met, you know this person to some extent. What does he or she enjoy? Is he or she sporty? Or artistic? Keep the person in mind while searching for a gift. Chances are that someone who spends all day drawing  and reading  about art is going to be confused when you hand him or her a basketball .
  • Campus rules. Don't buy a refrigerator  or hot plate  if these appliances  aren't allowed in the dorm!
  • Food  and hygiene  and school supplies . These are the three areas where you can't go wrong with any university student.
  • Space. Most university students are limited on space, so don't buy anything big. Weight can become an issue if the student will have to bring the gift back via train, aeroplane, or subway.
  • Room-mates. Just because your student may not have a microwave doesn't mean he or she doesn't have access to one already. Make sure you don't get duplicate appliances.

Popular Gift Ideas


Mini fridges  are so helpful to have, especially if your university student lives in a dormitory. These are even helpful to students living in flats with full-sized fridges (it's nice to not have to get up to get more soda when you are cramming for that exam). If the student lives in a dorm, however, make sure mini fridges are allowed.


Microwaves are a university student's best friend. Tasty treats take only a few minutes to make, and usually there is little to no clean-up required. Make sure microwaves are allowed in the dorm though! Try to get a carousel microwave  to ensure your student has evenly cooked meals.


Even if your student already has bedding , it can still make a great gift. Try giving an electric blanket  (check with the dorm first, again) or a decorative throw pillow . Buying an inflatable mattress  or thick mat  will allow your student to be the best host on campus!

Coffee Makers 

Even if the university student in question never drank coffee in high school, it's worth asking if he or she does now. Even if your college student isn't a regular coffee drinker, having a coffee maker  (especially those nifty one cup coffee makers  that pour the coffee right into a thermos ) is useful for the occasional all-nighter or to offer to guests.


Blenders are an easily forgotten kitchen appliance that can be lots of fun to own. Let your college student make healthy (gasp!) smoothies or mixed drinks  (if he or she is of age, of course).

Gift Baskets 

Buying or making your own gift basket is a great way to personalize your present. Giving candy , food, popcorn ,hair supplies ,dental floss  and pens  can be the most useful and fun gift your college student receives all year!

Digital Camera 

College students love digital cameras! Buy a quality camera and don't forget a durable camera case . Now your college student is all set for Myspace and Facebook!

Mp3 Players 

If your college student doesn't have an Mp3 player, he or she wants one. They are great for dorm situations. If a roommate has friends over but your college student has a paper to write, mp3 players allow him or her to block out the social noises without disturbing anyone else. If you buy an iPod  or other mp3 player, make sure you also buy a case ! If your college student has an mp3 player already, look for cases and accessories  like quality earbuds  or external speakers .


A small, compact television might not help your college student's studies, but it sure helps him or her unwind! Look for portable DVD players  for long trips home.


Once again, if your college student doesn't have one, he or she probably wants one. Laptops, also known as notebook computers , are so helpful for college students. Sure, he or she may have a desktop computer  or have access to computers at the school library, but there's nothing like having the ability to curl up on the campus grass and type your papers.

Cell Phones 

Most likely your college student already has a mobile phone , but technology is rapidly developing. Getting your college student a new, up to date cell phone is a great idea. Smart phones  and other phones that have WiFi ,Bluetooth , and a good calendar/planner system  are good bets.

Video Games 

Portable  or handheld video games  are a great way to unwind after a long week. If your college student already has a good video game system, buying accessories  and games  are great gift ideas.

Gift Certificates 

Ever the gift for the elusive, gift certificates are a great way to let your college student be an independent spirit and choose their own gifts. Look for gift certificates to stores that sell (or rent!) movies ,games ,music ,clothes  or home items . Use the store locator on the website of the store to make sure your college student has a store near his or her campus! Not sure what stores your college student likes? Try asking him or her a question like "where do you go for clothes?" or "where would you go to get a new shirt?" Food gift cards  are a great way to ensure that your college student eats at least one good meal during the school year. Most major chains offer gift cards, such as Burger King, Pizza Hut, T.G.I. Friday's and Pret A Manger. Gift cards for websites  that offer downloads of movies, music, games or television shows  (like the online iTunes  store) are also a huge hit.

Pre-paid Credit Cards  or Pre-paid Gas Cards 

This is the new alternative to giving cash. Pre-paid credit cards work the same way that debit cards do and can be used at any place that accepts credit cards. If you buy a rechargeable card , you can put money on it whenever you like. Pre-paid gas cards are one of the nicest gifts you could give a college student with a car . Even if your student doesn't have a car, these cards allow him or her to buy some snacks , drinks, and whatever other convenience items at the store.

Book Store Credit

Most campus book stores allow you to put money on a student's account. Book store credit allows your student to not only buy all the textbooks  he or she will certainly need, but also allows him or her to stock up on university gear . Campus book stores have tons of sweatshirts ,t-shirts ,tank tops ,umbrellas ,jackets  and cups  with the university name or logo. There's nothing like curling up in a university sweatshirt; it is super comfortable and promotes school pride!