Looking for high school graduation gift ideas?

With graduation season right around the corner, you might be wondering what to get that friend or family member who is graduating from high school.

Given the occasion, the best gifts can be things that help them get started with their new adult life while setting them up for success in college.

To help you in your search, we’ve compiled a list of the best gifts to get a high school graduate to prepare them for college.

College Gear Gift Ideas

Having the right supplies can make navigating the freshman year of college much easier. This can range from a tech gadget to a hoodie representing the student’s school. The cost of these types of gifts can vary with electronics tending to be on the more expensive side. Fortunately, college gear can align with any budget.


Unlike high school, college students won’t have dedicated lockers to store their books in. When there isn’t enough time between classes, having a quality backpack can make it easier for them to lug all of their gear around with them. Look for a backpack that has good back support and a variety of pockets to help them stay organized. 


Many students need to upgrade their computer when they arrive at college. MacBooks are the most popular laptops on college campuses due to their design and versatility. Whether they need to edit videos or write a research paper, students will find that a MacBook meets their needs. While these usually come with a hefty price tag, they can be worth the investment, especially if it lasts them well beyond their college years.

E-Ink Notebook

Studies show that writing things down by hand helps students retain more information than typing it down on a laptop. An e-ink notebook like reMarkable helps students do just that. It mimics the experience of writing with a pen and paper but gives students the ability to digitally search and organize information. This little gadget can be a good gift to help them excel in the classroom.

Noise Canceling Headphones

There’s nothing worse than getting distracted while trying to complete an assignment. Noise canceling headphones like Bose or Sony can be a great gift to give a high school graduate because this might not be something that’s at the top of their wish list. Focus is key so being able to tune out distractions will help give them an edge in their studies.

Dorm Essentials

Headphones and laptops are great, but incoming freshmen also need to furnish their dorm room. Bedding, a microwave, and a minifridge are essentials while lighting and a comfy chair can help make their new living space feel more like home.


Starting college off on the right foot means looking the part. You can give a high school graduate a hoodie, sweater, or jewelry from the school they’ll be attending in the fall. Check out the school’s bookstore to get official gear.

Gifts That Support Their Goals

Another great gift idea is something that helps the student work towards a goal. This can be academic or personal, like a fitness or financial goal. This kind of gift can help reinforce the importance of goal setting while giving them the tools to do so.

Subscriptions To Productivity Tools

Today’s college students rely heavily on subscription-based platforms to organize their notes and access knowledge-based services like tutoring. Whether it’s a tool like Notion or a study platform like Varsity Tutors, gifting access to their favorite paid resources can help set up a graduating high schooler for long-term success.

Recreational Memberships

Going to class is only part of the college experience. Being a well-rounded student is important too. Ensuring a student has the ability to explore recreational activities can be a good gift to give high school graduates. Gym memberships, class packs, and private lessons can all be good ideas for gifts you can give that allow them to get out of their dorm and have some fun.


Most high schoolers will find college to be much more academically demanding than what they’re used to. The first year can be especially difficult as freshmen must navigate new friend groups while adjusting to being away from home. Gifting them access to a tutor – whether they’re on campus or online – can provide the accountability and support they need to avoid falling behind.

Financial Success

When teenagers graduate from high school, they aren’t simply entering the next phase of their academic careers, they’re becoming adults. With this comes new financial freedom – and responsibilities – that they may not be well-equipped to handle. Helping them start their adult lives from a healthy financial position can be a great gift to offer. 

Consider opening a certificate of deposit or purchase Treasury bonds that can offer some passive income throughout their college career. You can also purchase assets such as gold or dividend-paying stocks that they can hold onto well into adulthood.

Best Experience Gifts

Graduating high school in and of itself is a major accomplishment. It can be celebrated by giving students the opportunity to create new memories that they’ll cherish for the rest of their lives.

Live Music

College can be an incredibly stressful time for students. Finding healthy ways to manage stress is important. Live music is a way to do just that. Gifting concert tickets to see their favorite band or musician perform can give them something significant to look forward to. You can also consider getting them tickets to see local musicians perform at a venue near campus. This can help them explore their new city and the music culture that’s there.

Park Pass

Another great way to alleviate stress is by getting outside. For $80, the Annual Pass gets you access to any national park managed by the National Park Service. This can be a great gift for a formative summer road trip hiking around the United States.

Travel Points

Did you know that a number of travel rewards credit cards and points programs allow you to transfer points to someone else? Rather than giving a monetary gift, you can offer the gift of travel instead. This can be beneficial if a student is planning on studying abroad at some point during their college career.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, our list of gift ideas for high school grads. We’ve covered everything from college gear to goal-related gifts to gifts of experience. Can you think of any gift ideas we’ve missed? If so, please feel free to share your best ideas with us in the comments below. 


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