The college grad in your life is off to new beginnings, whether it’s a new home, job, or continued schooling. Before they move on to their next chapter, help them celebrate this major milestone and set them up for success with one of these college graduation gift ideas. To make a big impact, you need a college graduation gift idea that honors the journey from acceptance letter to the well-deserved diploma handoff. The best college graduation gifts celebrate the graduate themselves and everything that makes them unique. This list is full of the best gift ideas for grads ready to make a big change – no matter if you take the sentimental or practical route, a personalized graduation gift and more from our Graduation Headquarters will show just how proud you are.
Graduations are a milestone that is worth sharing with those who have cheered you on since Day 1. To create the best graduation gift, first think of the recipient. Consider what they’ve accomplished and everything they’ve done the past several years as well as their future plans. If you know what they’ll be doing in the future, whether it’s heading off to a different city or starting a new job, you can create a personalized gift to get them excited. Once you choose your gift, upload the photos you think they’d love.
A customized gift could celebrate their next big plans or can also commemorate all the best moments from the past years. Depending on the products you choose, you can customize the photo layout and add embellishments, text, and loving messages. Whether you’re on the hunt for graduation gifts for her or gifts for him, check out our top customizable gifts for your favorite new graduate.
Best College Graduation Gift Ideas
Heading off into the world for the first time is an emotional time. Remind them of your constant love and support for all the adventures ahead with one of these personalized gift ideas. These gifts can spruce up their new desk, their home bedroom, or simply symbolize the weight of this incredible moment.
1. Custom Phone Case
As a new professional heading out into the world, remind your grad of home every time they reach to make a call. A personalized iPhone case comes in all of today’s popular sizes. Choose between a simple slim case or a silicone-lined option to make sure their phone survives any tumbles. Cover the case with your favorite family image, a picture from their childhood, or your grad and their best college squad.
2. Graduation Hoodie
It’s time to switch out that college sweatshirt with a custom graduation hoodie. This DIY photography gift allows you to add the photo, college logo, or personalized message of your choice. Choose up to nine photos in a grid to show off their best moments since childhood. Use the online personalization tool to add fun fonts, photos, or a combination of both.
3. Work-Ready Desk Accessories
Are they starting their first real-world job right after graduation? Help them spruce up their new desk with photo-adorned desk caddies. Add a customized message like “proud graduate” with the name of their college and favorite graduation day photos. Make it a gift set by adding a collection of high-quality pens, colorful sticky notes, and other new desk essentials.
4. Surprise Celebration
Want to spruce up the traditional graduation party plans? Gather family and friends in your grad’s favorite restaurant to continue the celebration after it’s all over. Use this day to snag some great photos that you can weave into personalized photo gifts to create before they take the next big step in life. Throw a virtual celebration to honor your grad if you can’t get a group together.
5. Personalized Planner
There’s nothing like a personalized planner to get you motivated for new projects on the horizon. Pick out a custom planner with a special message, name, or photo on the cover of the notebook. Each page includes a customizable calendar and a spot for important notes. For a personalized touch, include a few loving notes and reminders to call home after they’ve headed out to start their first big job.
6. Engraved Jewelry
For big moments like graduation days, sometimes the simplest and most elegant items are your best bet. College graduation is a great time to impress the young lady in your life with an engraved necklace with her name, initials, or even the year of her graduation. Pair the necklace with a matching bracelet in the same color of gold and the same inscription style. Choose from silver, rose gold, or 18k gold-plated designs.
7. Friends Collage
Saying goodbye to your tight-knit group of college friends is a bittersweet element of graduation day. If you need a great college graduation gift idea that celebrates an amazing group of friends, gather all your photos in a canvas photo collage to deck out their first post-college home. These images gather in the center of a canvas with a semi-gloss finish.
8. Hit the Road
Heading out for a road trip is one of the most iconic adventures to take just after graduation day. Plan a surprise adventure for you and your sibling, child, or best friend for a memorable week to celebrate four hardworking years of college. Surprise them with an itinerary of the trip and a personalized travel comfort with a coffee tumbler and canvas tote bag.
9. Tassel Pins
Personalized tassel pins add a bit of flair to the classic caps, holding the all-important tassel in the right spot as you head up to get your diploma. This is a simple gift to pair in a graduation day gift basket that includes other day-of comforts, such as a coffee mug, champagne glass, and personalized note. Include a photo and personalized message on each tassel pin.
10. Ready to Write
Gift a throwback to middle school when there was nothing better than a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils. Go a step further by adding a personalized message to each one as a sweet reminder of everything your grad has accomplished. Package them up with other items that will get them excited for their first big leap into the professional world.
11. Storybook Childhood
Though your college graduate may not be a little kid anymore, remind them of their childhood dreams and how close they are to seeing them become a reality. Write your own personalized children’s storybook celebrating how big their dreams can be. Pair your book with a note of congratulations and how proud you are of their accomplishments.
12. Bedroom Blanket
After weeks of hard work, your grad may just want to come home and enjoy the comforts of summer for a little while longer. Design a custom photo blanket with a message congratulating them on this huge achievement. Pair with a cozy pillow for the ultimate post-graduation lazy week at home.
13. Personalized Letter
Never underestimate the power of a handwritten letter during such an emotional time. Sometimes the best college graduation gift ideas are your own words of encouragement during this big transition. Make it personal by creating a photo card with all images from their senior year and include a gift card to their favorite store. Graduation cards like these act as lifelong mementos and can be framed in their first apartment.
14. Weekend Bag
The months after college are typically filled with new adventures. Ready them for the months ahead with a custom weekend bag for all their clothes, toiletries, and supplies to hit the road without a care. Our bag includes a separate internal pouch for keys and a phone as well as personalization options on the outer shell.
15. Squad Tumbler
Want to surprise your grad and their whole group of graduates with a personalized gift? Order a bulk of photo mug tumblers with the school name, graduation year, and a special message for everyone in the group. Not only do these make great mementos, but they can keep your grad and all their friends hydrated on the busiest day of the year.
16. Decadent Dinner
Now’s the time to splurge on the fanciest local restaurant in town, especially if you and your favorite student have had your eye on a spot for some time. Dress up for the occasion as a great end to a graduation day. If your grad is a passionate foodie, surprise them with a personalized set of cooking supplies for the start of their next life chapter. Give them a gift card if you can’t make it out to eat at this time.
17. Professional Notes
Transitioning to a professional life after college is an exciting moment for graduates. Prepare a gift basket made of personalized items such as a personalized notepad. Include an inscription at the bottom of the notepad with their name for a special touch. You can pair this gift with other professional tools like custom business cards, pens, and a desk calendar.
18. Travel Map
With graduation on the horizon, the world is their oyster! A vintage map printed on canvas is easy to hang on any open wall. It would make a fine centerpiece for a new apartment or their bedroom at home as they choose their next adventure. Travel map wall decor adds color to any room and creates an interesting focal point, as well as a talking point for any guests they have around.
19. Staying Organized
Office equipment and organizational tools like mousepads, journals, and more are a great way to excite them about all the upcoming opportunities. Choose two of your favorite photos of your grad from college, and include their name and monogram. Gifts for the office is particularly helpful for the graduate heading into a new career.
20. Easel Calendar
Even if you’re not at the start of the calendar year, this is a fresh start for college graduates. Welcome the new phase of the year with an easel calendar they can bring along to their new internship. On each new month, show off a fun photo of family and friends. The calendar cards slip into a simple wooden block that fits on any desk large or small.
21. Latte Mug
It’s time to spend a few weeks recuperating at home and looking ahead to the future. Welcome your graduate back to the house with cozy comforts like an oversized latte mug. Deck out the mug with photos, their name, and a loving phrase to motivate their morning.
22. New Apartment Shopping Spree
Looking for a unique bonding activity right after graduation? Celebrate your favorite student by taking them out for a day of shopping before they move into their first post-graduate apartment. Set a date and announce your generous gift through a heartfelt card to tell them how much you’re ready to support them during the exciting months ahead.
23. Photo Keepsake Box
This momentous time calls for a great gift reveal. If you’re planning to buy a striking piece of jewelry as a graduation gift or passing on an heirloom, keep it safe in a wooden keepsake box. The cover is adorned with a place for photographs and a personalized message.
24. Business Card Case
There’s nothing quite like seeing your name on a professional business card for the first time! Even if your grad has yet to design their own cards, a stainless steel business card holder is the way to look like a true professional. Choose from a range of decorative covers and styles, from light and floral to bold and geometric.
25. Gallery Poster
It’s hard to say goodbye to your best friends at the end of college. Gather up all her best online photos and create a photo poster to cover her wall. Framed or unframed, the poster acts as a daily reminder of all the incredible connections built over the past four years.
26. Dress Up Their Desk
Looking for ways to make your grad feel at home in this next phase in life? Dress up their new work or home desk with colorful plaques. Desktop plaques allow you to create your own photo layout without being confined to one image or framing tricky sizes. You can even add text to make the milestone even more special.
27. Family Photo Books
College graduations are also an opportunity to have a family reunion. What better way to celebrate how far your grad has come than by designing a photo book that tells their preschool-to-college story? Order your photo books in bulk to hand out to all the family members and friends that traveled to see your grad earn their diploma.
28. New Luggage
With so much adventure ahead, take this opportunity to surprise your new grad with a new set of luggage. You can pair a hard-case rolling suitcase with other travel essentials like a tote bag, toiletries case, carry-on, and travel journal. If they have yet to set a post-graduation trip, slip a few airline tickets in the card as well!
29. Luggage Tags
While we’re on the subject of travel, set your grad up for airport success with personalized luggage tags. Choose a cute design that showcases their personality and style and their favorite photograph. Include contact information on the back of the tags for a smooth trip through security and the perfect gift.
30. Coffee and Tea Set
Looking for a soothing gift to welcome your student back home? Collect their favorite herbal and traditional teas with some locally roasted coffee blends. Bundle it all up in a basket with their new favorite photo coffee mug covered in family photos and a new coffee maker or teapot.
31. Family Recipe Book
Without the college cafeteria a stone’s throw away, it’s time to learn all of your family recipes. Gather everyone’s favorites childhood dishes in a custom photo book, colorful graphics, and plenty of space to tell the recipe’s story. Pair your cookbook with new cookware and personalized tea towels for the perfect graduation present.
32. Friendship Candle
If you’re about to head down the graduation aisle yourself, consider a simple graduation gift idea for your dorm mates and closest circle. Our personalized candles blend soy and essential oils for a natural scent of floral, spicy, or fruity notes. Pair your candle with a handwritten letter and a note of congratulations.
33. Custom Photo Puzzle
It’s good to have a simple family activity to tackle the summer after graduation. Transform your favorite family photos into a custom photo puzzle. Puzzles range in size and difficulty for the pro puzzler to the newbie, with anywhere from 500-piece puzzles, 1000-piece puzzles, and more to make sure they’re as difficult or and as fun as you want. Seeing your custom puzzle put together with your favorite photos will bring a smile to your grad’s face as they put the pieces together.
34. Care Package
Every graduate needs some first aid essentials for their new living space. Care packages can include anything from band-aids, snacks, and cold medicine to cookies, movie tickets, and a new blanket. Customize your care package to the needs of your graduate.
35. Photo Mousepad
Fill their new desk with all the colorful photos they took during their college adventures. Cover a custom mousepad with a collage of images so they spot their best memories every time they sit down to work. These personalized mousepads are the perfect mix of useful and unique.
36. Acrylic Collage
Looking for ways to commemorate their most precious college photos? Transform images from childhood through college into professional acrylic prints. Choose from full color, black-and-white, and sepia-toned designs. When ordered as a collage, use the included hanging template to cover your grad’s wall with the new images.
37. Hometown Pillow
No matter how far they’re about to roam, remind your graduate of where they came from with a custom photo pillow. Personalize a burlap pillow with the name and state of your home or college town. You can even create a collection of town pillows as they explore new jobs or head to grad school.
38. Charm Bracelets
Custom charm bracelets are an excellent way to add on to your gift in the future. Add a photo-adorned charm to this sterling silver bracelet, especially if the photo shows off one of their favorite moments from college. In the future, give additional charms for life milestones.
39. Morning Mason Jar
Design a set of personalized mason jars for the graduate’s new apartment if they’re heading out of the house right after graduation. The thickness of the jar’s glass makes it perfect for both cold or hot beverages. Pair with stemless wine glasses for a complete set.
40. City Panoramic
Heading off to the big city after graduation? Gift your graduate with mounted wall art of their next home’s skyline. A panoramic frame will make it an excellent focal point for any new space. The lightweight photo board used for Shutterfly’s mounted wall art has a clean, modern look. Whether you want to feature one stunning image, display a photo gallery, or create a unique collage.
With the days of college coming to a close, now’s a great time to look to the future. DIY graduation gifts may include personalized home decor, customizable office accessories, or framed photos of your best college memories. Don’t forget, though, that the best gifts come from the heart and show your recent grad how much you care.