Picking out a gift for a college graduate is harder than shopping for high school graduates. For high school graduates, there are all kinds of options because of the ability to furnish a new room at school. There are sheets and toasters and refrigerators to buy. By the time a student graduates college, there is a good chance that toaster and fridge is up for sale.
The most obvious gift to a college graduate is money. Although the economy is very slowly improving, most students are graduating with no job opportunities. This means they are going home to look for full and/or part time jobs. If it’s a student with loan payments due in six months any monetary donation in their direction is generally appreciated. A gifter could even go the route of giving a savings bond. At first thought it seems silly; however, a savings bond ensures – in a matter of speaking – that the graduate will always have money somewhere when it’s needed.
If the graduate is lucky enough to find a job upon graduation, this means a new apartment or house is going to require furnishing. Gift cards would be a good option here – especially to Lowe’s, Home Depot or Menards. Tools and/or paint are often forgotten when a new home is on the horizon because the mover is blinded by new furniture. A big part in giving gifts to people moving into a new place is asking what they want or need. Often people just assume the needs of others and that is where unwanted gifts come from. If the new home is in a different state, gift cards are a great idea because it allows for purchases upon arrival in their new city rather than lugging it across the country.
This is especially true for furniture. For grads with new digs furniture gifts are a great idea, but to cut down on their stress order it online and have it shipped to them. For pieces that require assembly send along a gift card to cover a new power drill or powered screwdriver.
Think realistically when buying a gift for a college graduate, especially if he or she will be returning home to hunt for a job. I received a mosaic stepping stone with Mizzou’s Tiger logo on it when I graduated. Although it is an original and beautiful gift, I still have no use for it. I don’t have a yard to display it in or a spot for it in my house. It was a nice gesture, but not well thought out. A school pennant, window cling or license plate frame is a good small gift. It keeps the school spirit alive in a simple and functional way. One of the best school-related gifts I have ever received is a Mizzou cookie jar. It was a functional gift that is actually used on a somewhat regular basis.
Graduates, if someone takes the time to purchase and give you a gift – regardless if there is a graduation party or not – take the time to thank them. Whether thanking in person or by thank you card, it is an important and respectable gesture.
For more info: For those that have graduated and will be moving away from home, consider creating some kind of housewarming wish list or gift registry.