But wait, you don’t have unlimited money, so how are you supposed to get everything on your wish list? While it’s impossible to cover all your college needs alone, you’ll have a much better chance if some generous individual (ahem: parents, grandparents, friends of parents) helps you out with a thoughtful gift. Don’t know what to ask for? We polled students to find ten of the most coveted college gifts.
1. School Spirit Wear
My freshman year going-away present was a classy BC hat. Few things feel better than flying into your college town for the first time already feeling like you belong. Although upperclassmen won’t confuse spirit wear with school savvy, chances are theyâll still appreciate your attire. Everyone wants to feel good about their college choice, and this is an amazing way to celebrate.
2. Goodie Baskets
If people know your obsessions, they should fuel those fires. For movie lovers, Stanford freshman Cindy Lu suggests a movie-themed gift basket. “Fill it up with some popcorn, soda and some DVDs or movies from Netflix,” Lu said. The idea can even be expanded to incorporate video games, books or even a Lisa Frank sticker theme (although the stickers may not be the most practical gift).
3. Athletic Gear
Itâs a weird moment when you realize youâve got a campus rec center. Whether that makes you crawl back into your Netflix hole or feverishly draft page-long workout resolutions, getting a gift of gear can motivate your fitness. I never visited my rec center until I got basketball shoes for my birthday. After getting the shoes, I almost never visited.
4. Dorm Chair
As a freshman, I was surprised to learn that dorm chairs are a big deal. I often scooted across a friendâs room atop his wheeled swivel chair. Clearly, this did wonders for my stress levels. Also, owning the chair must have been motivating for my friend as a pre-med student. Letâs face it: everyone knows youâre not a doctor until you have office swag.
Sometimes we students need help maintaining our technology fanatic image. âA nicer phone would be amazing so I could get apps or internet,â University of Mary sophomore Anna Leisenheimer said. With todayâs apps providing everything from anxiety relief to party safety, itâs easy to want an upgrade. Your cranky elders are always going to complain about how âthereâs an app for that,â so you might as well have said app.
6. Dorm Pet
Since unreasonable dorm rules prohibit Fluffy–dog or hampster version–you might have to settle for a fish. Some contend that fish are boring. Theyâre right. But that doesnât stop animal-starved dorm kids from loving them anyway. One Friday night, I walked into my dorm bathroom to find a friend gingerly balancing a half-empty fishbowl over one of the sinks. Why? The beloved birthday-present goldfish needed its water changed. Thatâs devotion.
7. Event Tickets
One of Bostonâs greatest college attractions is the Beanpot hockey tournament, a four-team event featuring Boston College, Boston University, Harvard and Northeastern. My parents bought me tickets last year, and I had a blast watching BC capture its fifth consecutive title. Sports arenât the only canât-miss college events; think local concerts or music festivals.
8. Coffee Maker
A mini Keurig and K cups are highly coveted gifts as long as the dorm regulations allow them. âI got one for Christmas and itâs my best friend during the school year,â Pennridge High School senior Casey Haughin said. Coffee probably does more for a studentâs academics than class-related items like textbooks. Speaking of whichâ¦
Students appreciate anything that helps cover collegeâs enormous price tag. âVarious gift cards that Iâve received tend to be popular and prized gift ideas,â Lu said. Why not try a gift card to Target or Bed, Bath & Beyond for dorm gear? Haughin also suggested covering college or grad school application fees to encourage studentsâ ambitions, while Leisenheimer mentioned gifting textbooks as a way to save studentsâ hard-earned cash.
10. A Visit
Some students think college means escaping Mom for good. How wrong they are. Parents, fire up that maniacal laugh because you know their college street address and arenât afraid to use it. All kidding aside, phoning home feels hollow when school gets lonely, and nothing softens the August parting like a visit for Parentâs Weekend in September. Often, the gifter really is the best gift of all.
(Main photo via quickmeme.com)