Why: For taking notes, endorsing checks or jotting down the pizza order. Make it a keepsake by having it engraved with the grad’s name or initials.

Price: $20 and up

MP3 player/recorder

Why: To keep tunes handy. (Many even double as digital planners and alarm clocks, so it’s several gifts in one.)

Price: About $200, depending on the model and features

Backpack

Why: For college students, a vital accessory. To really surprise him, tuck some goodies inside-a pocket-size dictionary, a cookbook, airline tickets to someplace fun.

Price: $25 and up

Laundry survival kit

Why: Promote independent laundering. Fill a sturdy basket with a few good towels, detergent and a roll of quarters.

Price: About $35. For a personal touch, CollegiateGifts.com sells a personalized laundry bag-“Justin’s Dirty Duds” or “Mom, I’m Home…”-for $24.95.

Edible goodies

Why: Something to munch during late-night study sessions. Pack a gift bag or basket with candy, nuts, granola bars, coffee, hot cocoa and other munchies.

Price: About $20

Gift cards

Why: More personal than cash. Consider prepaid phone cards or a gift card to a bookstore, electronics store, restaurant, grocery store, gas station or auto parts store (they’ll need oil and wiper blades).

Price: You name it.

Luggage

Why: An ideal gift to start her on life’s journey.

Price: Varies greatly depending on size and manufacturer, but $60 is a good starting point.

Magazine subscription

Why: To ensure some fun mail. Or consider a subscription to your hometown newspaper, so he can keep up with current events and news back home.

Price: $15 and up.

Mail supplies

Why: So he’ll have everything handy for writing letters back home-or just paying bills. Fill a bag or basket with stationery, envelopes, stamps, address book, and a calendar with relatives’ birthdays filled in.

Price: About $25

Waterproof fire safe

Why: To protect passports, birth certificates and other valuable records from fire or water damage. It’s one of those gifts he’ll really appreciate later.

Price: About $30.

Laptop computer

Why: No modern graduate should leave home without it.

Price: $700 and up (way up)

Board games

Why: Arm her with an icebreaker. Consider a brain-bending group game such as Cranium or Trivial Pursuit, or a collection of classics such as checkers, chess and cards.

Price: $30

A good pillow

Why: To help him rest easy. Pair it with a premium cotton pillowcase in his favorite color.

Price: $25 and up

A share of stock

Why: Give the gift of equity-and a reason to keep an eye on Wall Street. Oneshare.com offers framed stock certificates for well-known companies such as Krispy Kreme, Nike, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s.

Price: Varies. At Oneshare.com, a framed Krispy Kreme certificate costs about $100; unframed, $59.

Roll of carpet or area rug

Why: To brighten up a drab dorm-room floor.

Price: $25 and up

College T-shirt

Why: So he can proudly proclaim his collegiate allegiance. For a more substantial gift, pair it with a sweatshirt for cooler days.

Price: $10 and up

Digital camera

Why: For capturing memories.

Price: $100 and up. (Be sure to include a memory card and other accessories.) For a low-cost alternative, consider a disposable camera and photo album.

Loft bed

Why: Because it adds 26 square feet of precious living space-essential for dorm rooms or small apartments.

Price: CollegeBedLofts.com offers plans for $10, completed wood lofts for $180 and up.

Lava lamp

Why: Brightens up a dreary room.

Price: About $10

Framed four-leaf clover

Why: Legend has it that a four-leaf clover symbolizes wealth, fame, good health and a faithful lover. What more could a graduate wish for?

Price: $28, from RedEnvelope.com

Sporting goods

Why: Having a basketball, football or Frisbee handy will encourage exercise as well as socializing.

Price: $10 and up.

Money

Why: It always fits.

Price: You name it.

Flip flops

Why: Good for the soles, especially in communal bathrooms.

Price: $2.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.