Graduation Gifts Your Student Will Love

Though graduates come in all shapes & sizes, they all share one thing in common:  they are about to begin the next chapter of their life.

Yes, you could just get a card, throw some cash in and call it done.  But think how much more special the gift could be if you add a bit of personality!

1. Swag from their future alma mater

There are few gifts more exciting than those bearing the name/logo of their chosen school. After all, wearing a t-shirt from their future alma mater allows them to be a walking billboard and let everyone know where they’re headed.

Most colleges have their logo emblazoned on everything from t-shirts to socks to running shorts. 

When my son graduated high school, his most favorite gift was a cozy blanket with the name of his college embroidered on it.


University of Richmond t-shirt



2. Origami money makes a fun graduation gift

If you’re going to give the grad money, why not make it a presentation he will never forget!   Learn how to here.


Cash tie


3. The Dr. Seuss classic, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” 

This classic Dr. Seuss book about the journey of life and its challenges is a favorite for young and old alike.  

One of the most charming lines, “Will you succeed?  Yes, you will indeed.  (98 3/4% guaranteed.)”

dr. seuss book oh the places youll go


4. Membership in AAA 

If you’re worried that the grad’s car is less than reliable, or perhaps the grad will be traveling long distances, a gift membership in the Automobile Association of America (AAA) can be the perfect fit.  

To ensure the gift isn’t met with a puzzled stare, you can help it along by writing on the card, “Congrats on your graduation!  Though I’m exciting to see you are headed off to Dream U, I always want to make sure you return home safely. If you get stuck, AAA can help you get unstuck. Love, Aunt Sue & Uncle Bob.”


5. Some shares (or partial shares) of stock 

While graduates can always use cash, the gift of stock that (hopefully) will appreciate over the years can be an interesting one as well.  Select stock from a company that will have some meaning to the graduate—the computer science major might like some shares of Google or Facebook; the athlete would appreciate Nike or Under Armour; and if money is no object, go for Berkshire Hathaway.  :)

(NOTE: Give A Share allows you to give a single share of stock and will provide you with the stock certificate (which in the past, I've found to be a pain to get!)  I have NOT used the service, nor do I know anything about the company, but it may be worth checking out.  


6.  A Graduation Centerpiece

Send the lucky graduate their very own centerpiece. Whether they use it when gathering with friends or set-it up so everyone on the Zoom can see their accomplishment, the banner and stand will help them celebrate an important milestone.

grad centerpiece

Learn more about this graduation banner and stand.


7. Money tree to Inspire Growth 

Graduation is a time of growth and your gift can embrace that sentiment.  Gift a money tree, or really any kind of plant, with some money clipped to the branches.


money tree



8. Fortune cookies with personalized fortunes

Fortune cookies symbolize good luck, plus everyone loves to read the fortune inside.  There are a wide variety of options available: fortune cookie jewelry, homemade fortune cookies (easier to make than you think and soooo much tastier) or even store bought fortune cookies with the fortune replaced with one you wrote. 

 fortune cookie


9. A treasure YOU enjoyed at the same milestone

Think back to that moment in time when you were graduating…

What gift meant the most to you?  

A colleague told me how special he felt when he received his very own “grown-up calculator” from his parents.  

He continued this tradition by giving each of his kids an HP scientific calculator for 8th grade graduation.  (No word yet on whether his kids inherited his passion for mathematics!)


HP calculator


10. “Mad Money” to Fulfill an Upcoming Need 

An inexpensive wallet or change purse filled with gift cards for gas, phone, food, music and any other needs the grad might have.


Congratulations to your special graduate!  May he/she/they go take on the world!