This fall will mark the first day of college for more than two million students, and millions more will be returning. Of course, family and friends want to celebrate their loved ones diving into the world of higher education.
However, in the constantly changing arena of accessory and technology trends, it can be challenging to decide what to give as gifts. We have a list of the top needs and wants that will make venturing off to college more comfortable and more fun for any student.
A dorm bed is not the most comfortable place, but in a small dorm room, it often becomes the most convenient spot for a student. They do everything in their dorms; from studying to eating meals to watching media on devices.
A reading pillow can be worlds of help in both comfort and posture. Wrongfully considered a little more than a novelty item, reading pillows provide back support for students who might otherwise bend over to read their books, laptop, or tablet. It's also a relatively inexpensive gift and widely available.
Outside of class, most students don't want to deal with an entire backpack or messenger bag, and they aren't all that practical for other activities, anyway.
A good quality cross-body bag allows enough space for a phone, cash, and cards. Some have enough spare space for another small necessity or two.
These bags allow students to grab and go, and they can be dropped into a backpack before class with no trouble. They come in a wide variety of materials with various appealing details no matter what a student's aesthetic might be.
In an age where water fountains hardly exist anymore, and bottled drinks cost dear, a personalized drink tumbler or water bottle can come in handy.
Make sure to find one with a reliable, leak-proof lid so that the container can go from dorm to classroom to library without a problem.
Personalization will eliminate the possibility of disputes over whose cup is whose in common living areas, where the property can become an argument.
A dead phone or tablet battery is a day ruiner for students who often leave their dorm in the morning and don't get back until late.
Having a dead phone can be a safety issue, especially when they could be in an iffy situation. Portable chargers are small, lightweight, and inexpensive, and they provide a quick battery charge.
Students will find it handy to have a full charger or two available at the bottom of their bags for emergencies.
The absolute height of convenience, gift cards are a way to make practically every student happy. Cards are available for their favorite restaurants, clothing stores, bookstores, transportation, streaming sites, and even music and games. They're endlessly helpful for college students finding themselves strapped for cash.
Lugging a bag or basket up and downstairs to get to the laundromat is exhausting even for a young college student. A bag with straps is far less awkward - and safer - to tote around. Students can toss their dirty clothes until it's full, then close it up, put the straps on, and take it down to wash.
A large laundry bag made of heavy-duty cotton with one or two shoulder straps that can take the weight of a full bag is ideal. It's durable, easily stored when not in use, and breathable, to avoid the horror of dirty clothes sitting in a nylon bag for weeks.
Built-in cell phone cameras are the most useful thing in the world. None the less, sometimes, scrolling through pictures on a screen isn't as satisfying as holding a photo in your hands.
An instant camera, though old school, allows students to do just that. The novelty of printing a photo right into your hand is new all over again.
It allows students to use them for decoration or keepsakes, and instant photos have always been a great way to make friends. Some modern instant cameras have features allowing for selfies and visual effects, as well.
AirPods are rightfully popular for so many reasons, and they're the perfect tech gift for a college student. They're lightweight, cordless, and they quickly and instantly connect to other Apple devices.
They charge quickly and hold that charge for enough time to get through a long study session. Pair them with AirPod Grips to really up to the game. AirPod Grips increases comfort and keeps the Pods in place securely.
Also, the silicone base is anti-microbial, meaning they'll protect a student's ears no matter how much they're tossed around a grimy dorm room or backpack.
Look for a professional laptop backpack that will last beyond the student's college years and into any internship, office, or other post-college environments. It should be sleek but well-padded inside to protect multiple pieces of technology, with an area for a wallet, keys, and other daily necessities.
Just because it's professional doesn't mean it can't have personality. There are many pro-level laptop backpacks out there that come in colorful designs and funky fashion while retaining a professional style and providing the gadgets with safety.
Photo credit: Gear Culture
Whether it's a phone, keys, or wallet, those small items tend to get lost even for the most responsible student. A small tracking device that can attach to a key ring, phone, or go into a wallet make a fantastic gift.
The most modern trackers work via Bluetooth, allowing the owner to have a set of keys or their cell phone to pinpoint their lost item quickly and easily.
Look for one that has a range of 100 feet or more to give students a better chance at connecting and finding their lost objects.
The best of the smartwatch trend, an Apple Watch, makes a great gift for busy college students. They sync an iPhone perfectly to make calls or send texts.
They can also run apps, provide alarms, give various notifications, and much more. The watch "face" can be personalized almost endlessly, as can the Apple watch band.
As hard as students can be on their devices, consider getting a more durable band to go along with the watch. Rhino Brand's products are ideal since they're designed to protect. As a rugged Apple watch band, it offers protection and safety for watches belonging to active users such as students.
Most students won't go and buy something as practical as a tool kit for themselves, but it's one of the most needed items for a college dorm room.
Something will always break and need a simple repair, and a tool kit means they can do it instead of paying to have repairs done.
It's also a good idea to give students a first aid kit. While most campuses do have a clinic, their dorm room still needs to have the bare essentials that a kit can supply.
No matter what a student's favorite streaming service or genre of media is, there's likely a streaming device out there for it.
Most college students can't afford to pay for cable or satellite, and changing services each semester would get ridiculously expensive. Media streaming devices allow them to plug into any TV to watch their favorite movies and series instantly.