We quickly discovered picking and coming up with gift ideas for college girls might be one of the easier age groups to shop for. However, we still did our research to ensure we were passing on the very best gift ideas, from practical and useful gifts to fun and fashionable ones. Here’s what our research found to be the best gifts for college girls.
A recent George Mason study of online wishlists found that each Amazon wishlist typically has at least 74 items with an average price of $36. Can you guess what product categories were most popular? The top five product categories were books, movies & TV, Kindle Devices, CDs, and vinyl, followed by Toys and games.
This is not to say that the study’s findings are directly related to what young women want, but it does serve as a great reminder of where to get helpful gift ideas for college girls – their wish list. But if it were that easy, what would you need this article for? Sometimes, the best gifts are the ones we think of with our recipient in mind. Whether you’re shopping for the holiday season, a birthday gift, or another milestone celebration, there is no shortage of ideas here.
In fact, we ended up with well over 100 gift ideas for college girls, so the challenge may quickly become narrowing down which one is the most perfect gift for the girls on your list.
Please know that many of our best gift ideas in this blog post contain affiliate links for your convenience. Any qualifying purchases made via these links will help support our site at no extra cost to you. We greatly appreciate your support and are so happy for the opportunity to help you discover the perfect gift idea, no matter the occasion.
Gift Ideas for College Girls by Category
Books & Learning Gifts for College Students
It may seem counterintuitive, but books and learning tools can also be enjoyable and useful. Take a look at the unique items on this list for a diverse range of gift ideas.
Books are a great safe gift to give just about anyone. They can be highly specific and personal or more generalized depending on how well you know the person. Below are a few genres with links to the list of most wished-for titles.
2. Ereader Devices
3. CD’s & Vinyls
You may or may not need inspiration when it comes to picking a favorite record to share, but just in case, here’s a list of best-selling Vinyls. Picking a personal favorite is a great way to connect.
5. Courses & Tutoring
Think Duolino Premium, Coursera, and more. This could also be a class or course related to a hobby or craft.
6. Investment Seed Money
So they’re technically an adult now, but have they really embraced all the wonderful trappings of adulthood, like learning to invest? Though this isn’t a skill they can learn in one sitting, it is an opportunity to make the most of compound interest and have a bonding moment. Speaking of bonds, if setting up a mutual fund through Vanguard or another provider seems too complicated, you could always buy a few bonds in their name. These will serve as an excellent appreciating asset that will be useful in the future. If you’re interested in sharing more finance best practices with your college girl check out this article on how to evaluate finances.
Entertainment & Hobby Gift Ideas for College Girls
Study hard and have fun just as hard. Finding balance and ways to blow off a little steam and recharge before hitting the books again is important. These fun gifts can help.
7. A Fun Party Game
8. Hobby Supplies
Recycled paper for jotting her thoughts
Eco friendly Rocket book that can be wiped clean reused after being stored in the cloud.
11. School Supplies
The fancy ones! Seriously, what high school, college student, or recent college grad doesn’t love good office supplies?
Bands, series characters, movies, games, brands, and more, there is sure to be a sticker set out there that speaks to their unique interest. Etsy is a great place to shop for stickers.
13. Concert/Event Tickets
Food & Cooking Gifts for a Tastier College Life
With these clever cooking tools and mini appliances, eating well at school is easy. From full meals to late night snacks this gear is great for every college student.
14. Air Fryer
It might be a long time before the young woman on your list has a proper kitchen. These handy appliances work great for small spaces and should last well beyond their college years.
15. Mini Instant Pot or Slow Cooker
16. Microwave Accessories
These kettles are amazing. You can make instant oatmeal, mac and cheese, as well as some instant ramen without needing a microwave. Of course, it’s great for tea and coffee, too!
20. Coffee Maker
This is my personal favorite coffee maker. I love that the steel carafe keeps my coffee warm late into the mornings so I can leisurely enjoy a second or maybe third cup.
Get the cocktail aesthetic with benefits.
Curious elixirs are almost like a health drink. With adaptogens, no sugar, and healthy ingredients, they have a lot to offer without the hangover.
Ritual zeroproof cocktail blends ready to be poured over ice or mixed.
De Soi aperitifs filled with better-for-you ingredients founded by Katy Perry and Morgan Mchlaclan
23. Reusable shopping tote
26. Reusable Drink Straws
27. Food Storage Containers
Beauty & Wellness Gift Ideas for College Girls
Self-care is an important part of one’s vitality. If you feel like all beauty and wellness is just frivolous, think again. Some of the products on this list are helpful time savers that are great for college-aged girls and all women alike.
28. Perfume & Cologne
If you’ve read our other articles on shopping for skin care solutions, then you already know fragrance is one of the most notorious beauty products for containing all sorts of unknown and unsafe ingredients. Henry Rose is a revolutionary brand developed by Michelle Pfeiffer to become the first fully transparent fragrance line in the industry. Social media is on fire with heart emojis for these fragrances, not just because of the quality but because of how great they smell.
29. Lip Care
From gloss to moisturizers, plumpers, and exfoliators, there are a plethora of options. Here are some best sellers to choose from.
30. Hair Accessories
Headbands, hair ties, clips, scrunchies and more.
31. Hair Tools
Sometimes, the right gift is just an upgrade or replacement of a well-loved tool.
Fashion & Accessory Gifts College Girls Love
Everyone likes to look good and feel good. Plus, having a few more clothing items means even longer between laundry sessions, right? But where will she store it all? Believe me, college girls’ closets are like Merry Poppin’s purse. The number of things they can contain is astonishing.
33. A Matching Set
34. Winter Jacket
35. Winter Hat
Try a non rippable brand like Sheertex
38. Rain Jacket
39. Mini iron or Steamer
40. Blue light eyeglasses
41. Eyeglass Chains
43. Personalized or Monogram Jewelry
For tips on selecting the best quality jewelry for your budget, check out these jewelry buying guides
Because nothing feels as cozy as brand-new fleece
Can she ever have too many pairs?
Home & Dorm Essentials to Make College Life Cozier
There’s no place like home, but creating cozy living at school can be a close second. If you need inspiration or are unsure of her particular home decor aesthetic, check Pinterest; she probably has an entire board dedicated to her ideal dorm vibe. Check out our home decor finds here if you want a deeper dive.
49. Nice Bedsheets for a better night’s sleep
50. House Plants
- Terrarium – water once a year
- Snake plant – Harty plant that’s also a great air purifier
- Air plant – what water? Seriously tough plants
- Pathos – Beautiful vines available in different colors that are also easy to propagate
- Monstera – That trendy Swiss cheese plant
Dorm rooms and college apartments are not always known for having the most reliable heating and cooling. Having a good fan is a must.
52. Air Purifier
53. Art Prints
54. Framed Favorite Quote
55. Reed Diffuser
57. Decorative Pillows
Safety & Ultra-Practical Gift Ideas for College Girls
Hopefully, she will never need to use many of these items, but it’s better to have them and not use them than need them and not have them. The landscape of personal safety is always changing, so teaching your college students about situational awareness and basic safety protocol is always essential.
A perfect small gift
60. First Aide Kit
If she has any important documents at school like a passport, birth certificate, or social security card a fire safe and or portable safe are a must.
62. Paper Shredder
She may have access to one on campus, but it’s always to have one close by.
63. Roadside Car Kit
Car troubles happen; teach your college girl the best way to get the vehicle off the road, if possible, and put out reflectors to alert other motorists while waiting for help.
64. VPN Subscription
Learning best practices for limiting your digital footprint are not only helpful for future employment opportunities but also for general safety. Using a VPN is just one more layer of added security.
65. A Wallet That Protects Credit Cards
Tech Gadgets & Accessories Gifts for College Students
Productivity and efficiency are a must for every college girl. The same idea applies here as it does with some of our other gift ideas. They may already have these items, but getting an upgraded version is always nice.
66. Phone Case
- Waterproof – this type of case is really fun for capturing unique underwater photos.
- Fidget Grippy
67. Smartphone Camera Lens Kit
These can be really fun for your shutterbug or anyone who wants to capture the best moments of their college experience.
68. Sound Canceling Headphones
69. Solar-powered Portable Charger
Because sometimes things get misplaced, it has nothing to do with the state of her dorm room. She knows where everything is, well, mostly.
71. Lap Desk
73. Ergonomic Mouse & Wireless Keyboard
74. Wireless Desk Light
75. Neck Light
Great for the conscientious night owl who doesn’t want to disturb their dorm mate.
76. Mini Projector
So she can stream a movie anywhere.
77. Bluetooth Speaker
78. Waterproof Portable Speaker
They make speakers for the shower or taking on the water. If you have an active college girl on your list this is a great option, but you may also want to consider a float for it.
79. Light Therapy Lamps
Great for giving her a boost during the gloomy colder months or an extra boost during finals week.
80. Sunrise Alarm Clock With USB Ports
Fitness & Sports Gifts for College Students
Fitness and movement are often regular staples in a college girls self-care regime. Getting involved in athletics is also a great way to find or build a community while away from home. These are the best fitness gift ideas for college girls.
81. Apple Watch
Help them track their splits, laps, heart rate, and more.
82. Watch Bands
A couple for that quiet luxury aesthetic and a few for butting in the reps at the gym.
84. Athletic Socks
All athletes, especially avid runners and cyclists, know the value of a great pair of socks. These are always appreciated.
85. Fitness Hair Accessories
Headbands, hair ties, scrunchies, and more.
86. Massage Gun
Not to say these devices are only for athletes; just about anyone with a body would love a little muscle relaxation.
87. Yoga Mat
88. Liquid IV or Other Hydration Supplements
Many are being made sugar-free, which is always a plus.
89. Hydro Flask
One of the most popular water bottles.
Travel & Adventure Gifts for College Girls
College is a great time for personal growth and exploration. Help her make the most of her adventures with these helpful travel gifts.
18 is a great time to get a passport in preparation for possible study abroad opportunities or traveling in general. Once you’re 18, your passport will last for 10 years, so this is a gift that will last them a long time.
91. Luggage Set
Everyone should have a good luggage set. Though they may not be traveling a ton, luggage can be easier than boxes for move-in and move-out days.
92. Picnic Set
93. Car organizer
94. Car Air Freshener
95. Funny Keychains
Great to gift to new college friends
96. Dry Bag Cooler
A great option for biking home with groceries or useful for spending a lot of time outside.
97. Travel Mug
98. Compact Travel Umbrella
Probably one of the most useful gifts for getting around college campuses. But just like owning a car, there are always lots of accessories and upgrades that make great gifts.
- Bike Accessories – lock, mirror, water bottle holder, basket, luggage fender, flashing lights, helmet
Gift Cards & Subscription Gifts for College Students
Sometimes, it can feel generic or disingenuous to give a gift card, but they can actually be really helpful and a great way to provide support while giving your college girl her independence and autonomy.
100. Gift Card
- Food – grocery store, Uber Eats, Grubhub, etc.
- Retail Therapy – clothing brands, services like haircuts, manicures or facials
- Travel – hotel or airline gift cards towards an extra trip home, study abroad, or that vacation they’ve been dreaming of.
- Transportation – Uber or Lyft for a safe night out or the student without a car. A gas gift card is always appreciated by the girl with a car at school.
- Etsy – for the unique and handmade.
- Audible – did you know you can gift months of a subscription someone already pays for? That’s a nice little surprise and savings hack
- Amazon – Students can try Amazon Prime for six months free, too
- Meal kit – Everyplate, Hellofresh, Blue Apron, etc.
- Farm Box – is similar to a meal kit. Only this one comes filled with seasonal fruits and vegetables that she will have to come up with meals for.
- Streaming services – like Prime Video, Netflix, AppleTV, Max, Disney+, and more.
- Gym Memberships – Pure Barre, Peloton, Orange Theory, Cyclebar, or Club Pilates.
102. DIY Gift Basket
Creating the perfect gift box has never been easier. Check out Boxfox to customize the perfect gift box at any price point. Everything they offer is beautifully curated by color and occasion for a beautiful look, no matter your recipient’s aesthetic. Below is a list of concepts to help you get started.
Necessities (toiletries, chocolates, other snacks, personal care items)
- Self-Care Night In – essential oils, manicure kit, face masks, robe
- Cozy – socks/slippers, PJ Set, silk pillowcases, blanket
- Focus – coffee, tea, B Vitamin infused gummies, and more to help with late-night study sessions
103. Activity Coupons
these are a great gift idea for college kids who live close to home or as a fun way to plan time with a best friend. Make a few cute designs in Canva or head to Etsy for ready-to-download printables.
- Buy Me Dinner
- Movie Night
- Take Me Shopping ($100)
- Buy Me Groceries ($50)
104. Photo Album
digital or physical photo albums are great thoughtful gifts.
105. Personal Letter or Poem
Recount a favorite memory or relay a sentimental message. A gift from the heart is sure to be a memorable and cherished gift. It’s a wonderful show of affection for any loved one, not just your college-aged girl.
172 Gift Ideas for College Girls
Whew. So, we may have overdone it… This article ended up having a total of 172 gift ideas if you count the sub-topics for each item. The problem now may be deciding on which item to buy.
We hope you discovered the perfect gift or were inspired to think of a few of your own unique gift ideas. Please let us know your favorite items or what other ideas you came up with.
Now, I know most of us love the element of surprise and the bonus points for coming up with an original gift idea they’re crazy about but don’t overlook their wishlist for inspiration, too.
Marly is a lifestyle writer and creator of simplylivinghappy.com, a site dedicated to helping readers improve their health, wealth, mindset, and overall happiness. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her listening to audiobooks while gardening, visiting with family, or traveling.