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Gifts College Students Will Actually Use

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screenshot of ordering online with EZ
EZ needs box in front of doors of a home
pens, cleaning supplies, medicine with an EZ needs box behind it all

This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com on behalf of Single Edition Media.

Shopping for college kids can be hard because they have limited space and their wish list can be pricey. That’s why I’ve put together this list of gifts college students will actually use, based on the advice of my own college and nearly-in-college kids.

Great list of ideas for gifts college students will actually use and be happy to receive.

With one son starting his junior year of college and a daughter just a year away from her college career, I spend a lot of time thinking about how to make those four years a great springboard for each of my children. The studying and hard work are their job, and I consider it my job to help them keep stress in check and to provide a bedrock of stability at home when they need it.

One simple way to express your love for your college student while helping him or her juggle life as a burgeoning adult is to send thoughtful gifts throughout the year. Big or small, the right gifts can provide a tether to home life and encourage their growing independence at the same time.

That’s why I try to send gifts college students will actually use. They don’t have space for items that create clutter. So, send items that are consumable or will serve a purpose. Here are some ideas to get you started, plus a few special offers from select brands.

Gifts College Students Will Actually Use

Each of the items listed below has a unique reason for being on the list. Whether you choose one item from the list, several of them, or simply use it as a springboard for your own gift ideas, I hope you’ll find plenty of inspiration below. And don’t miss the chance to snag special deals on some of the items (you’ll see them highlighted in bold type).

blanket, Ludens, sour punch candy, journal, book, watch, hamburgers on a white background

Vintage Watch

Watches are no longer a necessity since most college students use their phones to check the time. That’s exactly why vintage watches make a great gift.

No one thinks to give watches as gifts now. But if you choose a classic look, watches make a wonderful timeless gift. Plus, the vintage look is really on trend now.

gold vintage watch on a white background

A great choice is the Casio A168WG-9VT Vintage Watch. Everything about it is classic, from the gold color and traditional styling to the box it comes in.


No matter how old they are, all kids love getting candy as a gift. My son’s personal favorite is Sour Punch Share Me!® Mini Bites. He loves these bite size sour chews.

two packages of sour punch candies

Whenever you send candy to your favorite college student, make sure to send enough for him or her to share with friends.

Soft Throw Blanket

When you can’t be there to give your child a hug of reassurance, a cuddly soft throw blanket is the next best thing. It’s a great way to add a touch of home to dorm life.

a throw blanket and pillow on a black couch with a string of lights on the wall behind it

I love this Viv & Lou: Throw Blanket. The colors and design add a decorative element to your child’s college living. Plus, the blanket is super soft, warm and lightweight.

Shop Viv + Lou and use coupon code Wondermom25 to save 25% off site wide until September 30, 2017. In addition to throw blankets you’ll find lots of other personalized gifts college girls love.

Convenience Meals

During the first year or two, many college students are limited to microwaves when it comes to cooking appliances. That’s why a mini fridge stocked with BIG AZ® Sandwiches makes a great gift for college students.

These sandwiches are super tasty and easy to make (just pop in the microwave to warm). Plus, unlike a bag of microwave popcorn, they are a satisfying and filling meal.

a young man holding a Big AZ sandwich

Snag this $1 off Coupon so you can try one for yourself.

Everyday Items

One of the toughest things about adjusting to college life is realizing all of the things you had readily available at home. Most college students aren’t prepared for how quickly the tab runs up for small items they use every day.

At home, when my son’s tissue box or hand soap ran out, he’d just go to our supply closet and grab a new one. He didn’t realize the importance of having a stash of AAA batteries until his computer mouse died. And when he caught a cold, he didn’t have my medicine cabinet available for relief.

So, in preparation for his latest return to school, I placed an order on EZneeds for all of those things I thought he might need. Since he goes to school 700 miles away and our family of seven takes up most of the space in the family car, ordering was far more convenient than packing it and bringing it with us.

Plus, EZneeds items are value priced (typically 25-30% lower than competitors), even though you don’t have to pay a membership free. And as long as your order is over $50, you don’t pay shipping either. It’s a really easy way to get everyday needs delivered to your college student.

Using EZneeds is really as easy as 1-2-3.

  1. Order online
  2. Delivery arrives at your front door
  3.  Unpack your order

Then, cross your fingers and hope your kids will actually use the cleaning supplies you sent!

a girl in her dorm holding a container of Clorox wipes with an EZ needs box in the background

Throat Drops

One of those medicine cabinet items my son found himeself missing when he faced his first Illinois winter was something to soothe his sore throat.

When you send a winter care package to your child, ALWAYS include some Luden’s Throat Drops. My son likes the Ludens cherry flavor best, but my daughter prefers Ludens watermelon.

Not sure which one your college student will like best? Buy them both! Save $1 off 2 bags of Luden’s.

Quick, Fun Reads

Your daughter is going to have plenty of reading to do for school. That’s why it’s nice to enjoy a little light reading, especially if it comes in bite-sized portions.

a book titled the princess saves herself in this one

The Princess Saves Herself in This One is a great choice. It’s a collection of poetry about resilience. Seriously, just looking at the title if the book only sits on your daughter’s desk should spark some inspiration!

A Great Planner

Even if you’re not a helicopter parent, it’s likely your child has come to rely on you to provide reminders, pitch in to help when life gets too hectic, and keep them on track. That’s why a planner is ESSENTIAL for college students.

a planner with colorful flowers and a bird on the cover

If you’re a planner addict (like me), you know how easy it is to buy a planner and never use it. Your child is far more likely to use a planner he or she receives as a gift, if only out of a sense of obligation at first.

It’s way easier to stick with a good planner habit once you start. And this habit will pay huge dividends as your child learns to juggle classes, activities, and assignments on their own.

My daughter’s 2017-2018 planner is The Posh: Happy Living 2017-2018 Monthly/Weekly Planner. The cover makes her happy and I love that she associates joy with being organized!

More Gift Ideas for College Students

College is one of the few stages in life when providing someone with essential items is considered good gifting. Weddings and buying a new home are the other stages.

Your college-aged child will appreciate any item that lets them celebrate independence without coming to mom and dad to ask for money. So, make sure they have everything they need BEFORE they have to beg for funds.

If your child lives in the dorms, consult this college packing list for ideas. If your child has moved into an apartment at college, consult this college apartment packing list.


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