Top Grad Gift Ideas

Trying to decide what gift to give your high school graduate? You want to reward the leap from high school to college, but you also need to stick to a budget. Pick from these top-five practical, appealing, cost-effective gift ideas that will prepare them for higher education, and you'll pass the final exam of grad gift-giving with flying colors.

1. Electronic Education

A desktop or laptop will prepare your new college student to tackle research papers and stay accessible by email rather than having to rely on campus computer labs. As technology is becoming a more integral aspect of a college education, laptops are actually becoming a requirement at some schools. Get your grad prepared now with a low-price laptop. Other important electronic accessories include a portable printer and a USB drive.

Smart Idea

2. Gadgets and Games

While you might have told your child “No games until homework is done,” they’re now on their own. Having some affordable entertainment will help them relax and let off some steam when they have downtime with friends. Ideas include:

3. Dorm Deals

Any gift that involves furnishing their dorm room for comfort and convenience makes an excellent present. You’ll get extra credit if the gift is also practical.

  • Don’t let your child think three meals a day should come from the vending machine in the student lounge; some dorm rooms can accommodate a compact refrigerator and a small microwave
  • Bedding and towels may sound uninspiring, but your child will appreciate these necessary items that also personalize their new living space.
  • With such small space in their dorm, smart storage solutions will help them keep track of their belongings and navigate safely out of their dorm room each morning for class

4. Look the Part

College involves having gear that goes beyond the basics, sometimes including more professional attire for college functions or job interviews. Part of looking the part might also include a nice watch or a practical leather portfolio organizer to help keep track of class schedules. Does your student have a heavy course load and the books to prove it? Consider a briefcase on wheels to help them carry the weight with ease.

5. Plastic Fantastic

Gift cards are a great way to say “well done” now and in the future when your child might need a little extra support. This type of gift fits all budgets because gift cards come in increments from $10 to $250.

  • Walmart Gift Cards enable your grad to stock up on just about anything — from groceries and school supplies to oil changes, tires and eyeglasses
  • Restaurant gift cards give them a break after a hard week of studying or exams
  • Phone cards are a subtle way of saying “don’t forget about Mom and Dad” or “we’re here when you need us”


Remember that large, heavy or bulky gifts may be difficult or expensive for your student to transport to campus. Use Site to Store to have the item shipped right to a Walmart near their new school.

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