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Gifts for Grads

Your family has likely spent months stressing over standardized tests and agonizing over college applications, and now your student has finally decided where he or she will spend the next four years. Congratulations! Commencement is truly an event to celebrate. Often, family and friends seek a way to both commemorate the occasion and prepare students for what comes next. The expert counselors at IvyWise put together a list of graduation gift ideas that are sure to excite and inspire your graduating senior.

eBook Reader
Though e-readers have been on the market for several years, with the introduction of e-textbooks, the devices have become an indispensable tool for college students. Instead of lugging heavy books across campus, your student can store the relevant reading material for all of his our her courses in a device that is about the size of a paperback book and weighs less than one pound! Three of the most popular e-readers are the Amazon KindleBarnes & Noble’s NOOK, and the Sony Reader.

A multi-functional tablet, such as the iPad, is also a popular option. In addition to several e-reading apps and access to textbooks via the iBookstore, the iPad has high-speed Internet capabilities that are great for conducting research and checking e-mail. Plus, with more than 65,000 apps available for the iPad, students will be able to create presentations in Keynote and upload personalized study materials with gWhizmobile. It’s a great gift for parents too – the iPad’s built-in camera will let you video chat with your student so you won’t have to wait until Thanksgiving to get some “face time”!

Environmentally-Friendly Essentials
Sustainability has become a hot topic on campuses across the country. Help your student get in a green state of mind while also supplying them with some of the essentials they’ll need to survive life on their own.

  • Whether waking up for an early morning-class or pulling an all-nighter, coffee is a must have for many college students. An insulated eco-friendly cup set, such as the one by Copco, will take care of both the hot and iced versions, while reducing waste from disposable cups.
  • Similarly, a reusable water bottle such as those made by Nalgene or Klean Kanteen will keep your student hydrated whether in class or on the quad. For a gift that screams school spirit, many schools sell these or similar products, customized with the school colors and logo, through the campus bookstore.
  • Small-space-friendly appliances can help students avoid constant treks to the vending machine and dining hall. A mini fridge, such as Frigidaire’s 3.1 cubic foot model, is essential for keeping cold drinks and healthy snacks such as fruits and veggies on hand; a compact microwave is great for reheating leftovers from meals eaten out and weekend visits home – check out MicroFridge’s Compact Refrigerator/Microwave Combo; and a personal coffee maker, for example Keurig’s Mini Plus Personal Coffee Brewer, that brews individual serving pods or k-cups directly into a travel mug is a popular perk – look for appliances with an Energy Star logo, which are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy for efficiency. However, make sure to look into which appliances are prohibited in on-campus housing!
  • For laundry, rolls of quarters, an eco-friendly laundry detergent (Mrs. Meyers makes scents such as lemon verbena and basil), and stain sticks (like those made by Ecover) can be extremely useful. For a personal touch, add a quick how-to guide that gives tips on how to get out common stains and other clothing conundrums. Reusable shopping bags can double as laundry totes, and might even serve as a great way to present your gift.

Dorm Decor
For many students, a dorm room will need to function as a sleeping, studying, and living space. The key is to make this limited space as comfortable as possible while giving it personality.

  • Wall decals and posters are easy to apply, conform to college guidelines, and can transform a room from bare to beautiful. Check out Etsy.com for some one-of-a-kind options.
  • A digital photo frame such as the Kodak Pulse will keep loved ones close without taking up precious space. And because the photos are easy to update, students can ease homesickness with images of friends and family back home and add photos of all their new college friends!
  • Dorm Decor from Chronicle Books offers 35 projects that will give your student creative ideas and resources to make their space truly feel like home. Consider pairing this book with dorm room necessities, such as extra-long twin sheets and a desk lamp (check out iHome’s desk lamp which also features a desk organizer and iPod speaker!)

Luggage
Packing for college is only the beginning! From traveling between home and school for summer and holidays, spending weekends at club competitions, and perhaps partaking in a study abroad experience, chances are your student will be on the move over the next few years – and a duffel bag isn’t going to cut it. A rolling suitcase or soft trunk will be a versatile and useful travel companion (Tumi‘s are stylish and durable and include a five year warranty), while a monogrammed weekend bag is ideal for shorter trips (L.L. Bean‘s have a lifetime guarantee). You might also want to include a toiletry bag, which can be stocked with shampoo, toothpaste, and first-aid fundamentals. Finally, a personalized luggage tag will ensure nothing gets lost in the hustle and bustle.

Hopefully we’ve given you a few great ideas on how to surprise and delight the graduating seniors in your life. Graduation is an exciting time for students and their families. As you come together to commemorate this hard-earned achievement, the team at IvyWise wishes you all the best!

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