Gifts For Teens and College Students

Gifts For Teens and College Students




It’s the holiday season and believe it or not there are gift ideas to consider for those needing help with college prep and planning. Our list includes gifts for parents learning about college planning, along with ideas for high school and college students. We tried to include the practical, frivolous, and just plain fun. Here are our top suggestions:


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  • Help towards a debt free future. Give the gift of a successful future and a debt free start by giving money to a 529 college savings plan. Your student may not view this as the most exciting gift, but think long-term value instead of instant gratification. You can also set up an account at Gift of College, link an existing 529 account and let others also give gifts and help build your child’s college savings too.

Gift of College Gift Card

  • Julie Lythcott-Haims, a parent and Stanford dean of freshmen and undergraduate advising puts together a refreshing and eye opening book  – How To Raise An Adult.  A must read for every parent that is balancing how to turn a teenager into a responsible young adult without becoming a helicopter parent. As one reader wrote – “The book of the century..Overinvolvement and helicopter parenting may be what everyone is doing, but it is ruining the people who will eventually be adults and running this country.” A New York Times Bestseller.





  • If you child needs to be on the cutting edge, they probably are already pining for the new Snapchat Spectacles. This is the hottest gadget for the teen and young adult crowd. While you wear the Spectacles, they record what you see and wirelessly send the video to your phone for review and add to your Snap To Memories on Snapchat. They are currently only being sold by Snapchat at pop-up stores in a few major cities. Some resellers are selling on Amazon. Good luck snagging this gift and making your child wildly excited. 


  • Amazon has recently redesigned its new lower priced ($39.99) Echo Dot making it one of the best buys for a personal assistant. This small voice activated device can search online for information, play music on command, get sports Amazon Echo Dotscores and the weather, answer math questions, order a pizza, Uber or almost anything sold on Amazon.









  • Eat well at a college dining hall. You can’t be there to make sure they eat well, but help your current college student and future one transform their dining hall meals into gourmet feasts! Dining Hall HacksUltimate Dining Hall Hacks offers 75 amazing and creative recipe ideas that use items readily available in your college dining hall.







  • We all have so many gadgets these days that need to be charged, so don’t be caught short on charging space. The iClever Boost Cube is a 4 port wall charger that not only gives you more space to charge, but also charges faster than your normal charger. This is the best selling 4-port charger on the market. 


  • Music soothes the soul and makes your student’s room party central. When we went to college we either had a boom box or large bulky speakers. Today, kids can use a small, wireless, bluetooth speaker that turns any mobile device into a hi-fi sound system that delivers clear, high quality sound. We’re sure Jawbone’s Big Jambox will do the trick.

Jambox Large


  • Have a gadget that’s like a jack of all trades. You’ll never know when you’ll need a knife, tweezer, scissor aSwiss Army Knifell at the same time. Make sure your student is prepared with their own Swiss Army pocket knife. When I was a kid, my father always carried one on vacations and when I studied abroad my own swiss army knife was invaluable. 



  • Tick tock your teen is tough to rock in the morning. If you have a teen that is hard to wake in the morning and wonder what he/she will do when they are on their own, then Tocky Runaway Alarm Clocktocky run away clockis worth a try. It “jumps” off the nightstand and either rolls on the sleeping person or the floor. So it literally hits your teen to wake up or rolls on the floor forcing them to get out of bed to turn off the annoying alarm. Sounds like a promising waker upper to us.


  • Give your student a subtle reminder that you are always thinking of them, with this red string bracelet. The red string is based on an ancient folklore that wearing it tied around your wrist wards off misfortune. The belief comes from the Jewish Kabbalah that the red string is a tool for removing the intrusive negative influences around us. As parents, we’ll try anything to make sure our kids are protected.

Red string bracelet


  • Don’t be caught with “dead” electronics. You’re hoping your student spends so much time studying at the library that they don’t have time to charge their phone or other mobile devices. Instead, they could carry a portable charger and never worry about running out of electric “juice”. 

Portable Charger



  • Give a gift that keeps your student warm and comfy – Happy Feet Slippers. These slippers have a thick foam sole that make you feel like you are walking on air. They come in cute animals, sports teams, and approved university and college colors. 

Happy Feel Slippers



Debbie Schwartz is former financial services executive and founder of Road2College and the Paying For College 101 Facebook group. She's dedicated to providing families with trustworthy information about college admissions and paying for college. With data, tools and access to experts she's helping families become educated consumers of higher ed.
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