The Top 10 Gifts for College Students

You're looking for the top gifts for college students for a birthday or the holidays. Why not get that special college student a gift he or she could really use—a study gift that will make classes just a little bit easier or a way to make their load a little lighter in between classes?

Check out the top 10 gifts for the college students in your life. These are not in any particular order by rank, so see what has the most appeal. Trust me, they're better than that argyle sweater you're thinking of knitting.

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Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo

Specs: If your college kid wants news, music, research, audiobooks, sports and more controlled by his or her voice, then the Amazon Echo is the way to go. Students can pop this device up in their dorm rooms and ask out loud about homework, dictate notes, and get advice on writing their next essays. 

Hot Feature: Students say, "Alexa" and then the device is ready to answer their questions and obey their commands. So, sentences like "Alexa, when is my next class?" and "Alexa, what's the population of Tibet?" can all be answered easily and accurately. 

Price: $149.00

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Bose Soundlink Color Portable Bluetooth Speakers

Bose Soundlink


Specs: When your college student plays some of the best music for studying, make sure its on a speaker that he or she can transport to and from their favorite study spot back to the dorm room. These little speakers, available in many different colors, deliver serious sound for their size. 

Hot Feature: It has 8 hours of battery life and recharges via micro USB.

Price: $129.00

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GEAR Dr. Who TARDIS Mini Fridge

Dr. Who Tardis mini-fridge


Specs: The Dr. Who Tardis mini fridge is an awesome pick for the college student who doesn't want to pay for a soda while studying, and also happens to be a Dr. Who nut. It's small (10.5" high 7.5" wide 10.5" deep) but can fit a 12-pack of soda while perched on a desk. 

Hot Feature: Not only can it keep food and beverages chilled, but it can warm them, too. Plus, it has a DC 12V car socket adapter, perfect for those road trips when ice just won't do. 

Starting Price: $109.99

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Decibullz Custom Molded Earphone Adapters


Specs: You know what's a real bother for college students? Earbuds that don't fit properly. With these custom molded earphones, however, it's not a problem at all. You heat them and mold them to you own ear for a customized fit. 

Hot Feature: These bad boys won't fall out, and since they're custom molded to your college student, he or she won't have to let roommates borrow them, either. 

Price: $25.99

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The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter by Meg Jay

The Defining Decade book


Specs: This book tackles everything a college grad will feel and experience emerging from the constraints of college life into the grand idealism and angst of the twenties. The self-help book provides guidance for finding purpose and step-by-step directions for how to get where you want to be. It's a practical must-read for every twenty-something person out there. 

Hot Feature: Paperback means less weight in the ol' backpack.

Price: $9.95

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Livescribe Smartpen

Livescribe pen features

 Wesley Fryer/Flickr/CC by 2.0

Specs: If your college student it tired from taking all those notes, but doesn't want to carry a laptop, then this product is awesome. A tiny camera on the tip of the pen captures a college student's handwriting, stores it in memory, then syncs it via Bluetooth technology to the Livescribe app on their mobile device. 

Hot Feature: It records audio, too!. The speaker produces clear sounds for transcription later. 

Starting Price: $139.00

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iTunes Gift Card for iBooks Textbooks

iTunes giftcard


Specs: If your student downloads the iBooks app, then he or she can read their textbooks on their iPad if available. But thousands of textbooks are published this way and if you get them an iTunes gift card and specify it's for books, they can download that biology textbook and interact with it like never before. 

Hot Feature: iTunes gift cards and easy to obtain and wrap. 

Price: Choose!

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Custom Messenger Bag by Timbuk2

Timbuk2 messenger bag

Specs: Your college student is unique, right? Why not purchase a messenger bag that fits his or her personality? Custom design an extra small bag for essentials or an extra large for their laptop and everything else. Choose colors, fabrics, lining and logo for an incredibly unique and thoughtful gift. Plus, since this is from Timbuk2, you know it's durable. It doesn't make sense to purchase a bag that will fall apart in a year. These ones have serious staying power.

Hot Feature: Messenger bags not their thing? Build your own Lex Pack or Swig—they're messenger inspired, but have shoulder straps like a backpack, too.

Price: $88-$205

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College Textbooks from

Alibris logo


Specs: It might seem like a boring gift, but trust me, if you've given money to a college student, I'll wager that it went toward textbooks. Get a list of what your college student needs next semester and shop at This website has solved two of the biggest textbook issues to date: affordability and availability. Often, when a college student goes to purchase a textbook from the campus bookstore, it's been sold out. Or, its price is the highest it will ever be. By allowing students to sell their books through the website as well as purchase, Alibris has stacked up over 100 million used and new books. How's that for availability? Plus, there's a money-back guarantee.

Hot Feature: Free shipping on many items!

Price: Varies

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Private Tutoring

Tutoring session in college library

monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images 

Specs: Okay, so this isn't exactly an object with specs and all, but private tutoring may be the best gift you'll ever give a college student. Perhaps he or she is interested in grad school. Law school. Medical school. Business school. Stats prove that he or she will score better on one of those entrance exams with preparation, and a private tutor can certainly get them where they want to go.

Hot Feature: Ask around. Word-of-mouth tutors often have the best reviews!

Price: Varies

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Your Citation
Roell, Kelly. "The Top 10 Gifts for College Students." ThoughtCo, Sep. 2, 2021, Roell, Kelly. (2021, September 2). The Top 10 Gifts for College Students. Retrieved from Roell, Kelly. "The Top 10 Gifts for College Students." ThoughtCo. (accessed April 1, 2023).