Group of friends at graduation

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means we receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended. Please check out our disclosure policy for more details. 

Graduation comes with big expectations, and not just for the ones wearing the cap and gown. For those who have a recent graduate in their life, it can be hard to find a gift that’s just right. It should be something that is both useful to the grad as they move on to the next stage of their life, but something they’re excited to have as well. Ultimately, the best gift is going to depend on the recipient’s personality and what life stage they’re entering.

Here are some ideas for helpful gifts for graduates of every style, whether they just finished high school or graduated college:

For the Organized GradHelpful Gifts to Buy Your Graduate - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

College

For recent grads looking to stay organized as they begin a new leg of their journey to adulthood, a smart speaker with a virtual assistant like Amazon’s Alexa might be a useful gift. The Amazon Echo is $100 and comes in a small variety of colors and styles, meaning you can pick one that suits your grad’s personality. They can use it to make to-do lists, check their commute time, order more toilet paper and all the other mundane things that come with adulthood.

High School

Bullet journals are the hot new trend in the world of planners. It might sound boring, but bullet journals, like this Leuchtterm1917 notebook ($20), are a fun and creative way to organize your life, and they’re 100% customizable. Your new grad can create their own extravagant layouts for their weekly logs, come up with adorable to-do lists, or keep it minimalistic and just use it like a normal notebook. Plus, all the pages are conveniently numbered, so they can keep track of all their different logs in the index. Just throw in a set of colorful pens (and maybe some inspiration to help them get started) and they’re set.

For the “Life of the Party” GradHelpful Gifts to Buy Your Graduate - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

College

For the graduate who was a connoisseur of alcoholic beverages during their time in college but is now looking to class it up a little as a bona fide adult, try a wine subscription box like Winc. For around $50 – $60 a month (bottles start at $13 each), members are sent four bottles of wine tailored to their own tastes. The personalization is what makes Winc so great; members take a quiz to determine the flavors they like best, and wine is chosen for them based on their answers. It’s also completely commitment-free, so you can skip a month or cancel at any time.

High School

Popular culture underestimates how often young adults are looking for a low-key night in. With all those new responsibilities, sometimes it can be nice to curl up in the common room with a good game. Sure, it sounds very “after school special,” but it’s true: sometimes the most popular person in a college dorm is the one with the nifty card game. If they’re college-bound, get your outgoing grad a fun game no one else will have that gets people laughing, like “What Do You Meme?” ($30) It’s like “Cards Against Humanity,” but with popular internet memes.

For the Grad Who Already Has Too Many Copies of ‘Oh, the Places You’ll Go!’Helpful Gifts to Buy Your Graduate - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

College

Got a graduate who’s looking for a little more solid life advice than the whimsical prose of Dr. Seuss? Try “Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps” by Kelly Williams Brown. A New York Times bestseller, “Adulting” is a real-talk guide that can help teach new adults how to navigate the real world. Brown uses humor to dispense invaluable wisdom, from the practical (“Step 18: Buy toilet paper in bulk”) to the existential (“Step 1: Accept that you are not that special”).

High School

If they’re planning on heading to college soon, your former high schooler is likely drowning in existential advice and nuggets of wisdom on “taking the next big step.” Instead of piling more on, give them something more practical, like a cookbook. “Cooking Through College: When You Can’t Stand Instant Noodles Another Day” has lots of simple recipes that are geared specifically toward college students. The book also has some useful advice on saving money and staying healthy, as well as a rundown of some cooking basics, like how to thaw a frozen chicken.

For the Fit GradHelpful Gifts to Buy Your Graduate - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

College

Since they’ve probably worn their old pair down from daily trekking around campus and late-night sessions at the gym, consider gifting your fitness guru with a new, stylish pair of sneakers. These Ultraboost running shoes from Adidas ($180) provide the perfect blend of comfortable and trendy. Plus, they’ll help ease the parting blow of no longer having free access to the campus recreation center.

High School

Whether they’re continuing their education, taking a gap year to travel or heading straight into the workforce, fitness lovers at all walks of life will love having a watch that tracks their physical activity, like the Fitbit Versa. The Versa starts at $200, and tracks physical activity through steps, heart rate, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, active minutes, hourly activity and stationary time. It also tracks sleep patterns and has the ability to store and play music.

For the Classy GradHelpful Gifts to Buy Your Graduate - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

College

The fashionable college graduate is likely very interested in making sure they have the proper threads for all those job interviews they’ll be going to. A nice jacket, like this Trim Fit Linen Blazer from Nordstrom ($300), can be a good start for a new adult to begin building their professional wardrobe.

High School

A cute statement piece can be a talking point for classy grads who suddenly find themselves in unfamiliar situations. College especially is one of the few times in life where people will bond over anything, so a cute clothing item can get people talking. Try this too-cute pineapple skirt from ModCloth for $60.

For the Grad Who Loves LearningHelpful Gifts to Buy Your Graduate - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

College

For those grads who will continue being scholars long after they’ve tossed their cap, consider gifting them with a subscription to the Great Courses Plus. The Great Courses Plus offers on-demand access to video series taught by the world’s top professors. Their huge online library allows subscribers to stream courses on every subject imaginable, from the science of decision making to “Dog Training 101.” It’s like Netflix, but for nerds. A subscription costs $20 a month or get a slight discount with one annual payment of $180.

High School

Got a grad who can’t wait to get back to school and hit the books? A good pair of noise-cancelling headphones, like Bose’s QuietComfort 35 wireless headphones ($350), will get lots of mileage with school-bound bookworms, who may find themselves in noisy study spaces or with a roommate who can’t seem to cut back on the loud, nightly phone calls with their significant other.

For the Grad Who Likes Their DowntimeHelpful Gifts to Buy Your Graduate - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

College

Gaming isn’t just for teens anymore. For grads who value being able to mindlessly unwind after a long day, a video game console like the Xbox One S, starting at $280, is the perfect fit. What’s great about this console, and others like it, is that it’s not just a video gaming system (although who doesn’t like to relax with some good old-fashioned zombie killing?). It also has a built in Blu-ray player and gives your grad access to all their favorite video and music streaming apps, including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Spotify and Pandora.

High School

If your TV-loving high school graduate is going to be moving into a dorm with no cable access, consider getting them a Hulu with Live TV subscription. For $40 a month, they get access to Hulu’s complete streaming library, as well as access to live TV from 50+ of the most popular channels, including all the major news and sports networks.

For the Grad Who Asked for MoneyHelpful Gifts to Buy Your Graduate - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

College

Very soon, your college graduate is probably going to have to stop relying on gift money to get by. Help them put on their big kid pants and give them the gift of financial literacy. “Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together,” by Erin Lowry, is the beginner’s guide to managing your finances when you’re a young adult living paycheck to paycheck. Don’t want to be too cruel by giving a reading assignment to the grad who asked for cash? You can always slip a couple bills into the pages for a little something extra.

High School

Gift cards are the great in-between of getting an actual gift and just giving cash. It’s a little more personal, a way of saying that you know enough about the person to know where they spend their money. Get your high school grad a couple gift cards for some of their favorite haunts around town. Even more convenient is the Darden Restaurants gift card, which can be used at several different places, including Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse. They might not always have enough spare cash to grab food from their favorite restaurant, but if they have a gift card, they’ll have a dinner on you when they most want it.

What types of gifts will you be giving grads in your life? Let us know in the comments below!

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *