12 Fun & Practical Gift Ideas for College Freshman

Updated August 10, 2020 by Kyle
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Ah, freshman year. We’ve all heard the stereotype; Freshman year is the most fun you’ll never want to have again. You’ll do more school work than ever before, but at the same time, make lifelong friends, have formative experiences and party way too much.

While full of new adventures, it also comes with challenges. So, when you’re thinking about what to get an upcoming college freshman, a good mix of practical and fun items are sure to be a hit. Here are 12 gift ideas for college freshmen that will make you wish you were back in school.

12 Fun & Practical Gift Ideas for College Freshman

Practical Gifts

1. A Good Tower Fan

During the hot month of August is when you’re helping to lug a year’s worth of clothes, a mini fridge and 7 packages of ramen into your student’s new dorm room. Desperate to cool off, you circle around the room only to realize there is no air conditioning — a common issue in many freshman dorm rooms.

Before you say your goodbye’s, head to the nearest store and try to pick up the Lasko Wind Curve Tower Fan (price: $59.99). Easily prevent overheating on hot, muggy nights with a fan that can keep the whole room cool. Your freshmen and his roommate will thank you for the relief.

2. A Cozy Pillow

Getting a decent night’s sleep is one of the most important, yet most challenging, aspects of college. It can especially be hard for college freshman, who are trying to get acclimated to a new home, and a new class schedule. All this change can easily throw sleep schedules out of whack.

So, what can you do to help? Consider the Cool Touch Memory Foam Bed Pillow (price: $35). Not only is it designed for support and comfort, but it also keeps them cool while sleeping. It’s a wonderful complement to the aforementioned tower fan.


3. A Multifunctional Mattress Pad

Every college student who has lived on campus has slept on a dorm bed, and they’ll tell you that it’s not the most pleasant experience in the world. You would think all that money you’re shelling out for tuition would get them something more reliable.

That said, help a freshman out by gifting them a Mattress Pad by Room Essentials (price: $9.49). It’s cheap, comfortable and will certainly make falling asleep easier.

4. A Quick Drying Shower Caddy

Shower caddies are absolutely essential when living in a dorm with communal bathrooms. Nothing is worse than stepping into the bathroom and forgetting something. This is especially true when you have to walk down the hall in possibly just a robe and some flip flops, and hope that the shower stall is still available when you get back.

Choose a caddy that best fits their personality, like this mesh Classic Shower Caddy (price: $16.99).  It’s the perfect way to all their toiletries like shampoo, soap, hair gel, deodorant and others in one place. You even have the option of adding a monogram to it, making it a more personal gift.

5. Hangers

Hangers as a gift? It seems silly but it’s incredibly practical. When they realize they moved in with way too many clothes, they’ll thank you.

You can pick up super cheap 18-Pack Hangers at Target (price: $2).

6. A Portable Charger

For under $20 you can ensure they can always reach you (and vice versa). A portable charger (price: $19.99) fits in a backpack or purse and can rapidly charge a phone or tablet.

Get more bang for your buck when you purchase a charger with 2 USB ports so they can power up to twice as many devices.

Fun Gifts

7. Board Games

Price: Varies

It’s incredible how a fun board game can bring people together. Perfect for nights when they just want to stay in or get to know new people on their floor.

Whether you choose an old school favorite, or opt for newer game, your student will appreciate having something other to do than homework.

Popular games to consider include Cards Against Humanity, Catan, Scrabble, Pictionary, Twister, or Catch Phrase.


8. Subscription Box

Price: $45/month

Even in the digital world, receiving a package in the mail can really make your day.  Surprise your student with their very own subscription box.

You can choose by interest like beauty, gaming, fitness and more. While there are a ton of choices out there, The College Delivery Club box is a great mix of essentials.

9. An Enjoyable Night Out

Price: Varies

While there are plenty of things to do on campus, sometimes you just want to get out and do something different.

With a discounted Groupon gift card, your favorite student can see a concert, go on a sightseeing tour, or attend an upcoming sporting event and you won’t have to pay full-price for the gift.

It’s a win-win gift and a cool way for them to explore their new town on a budget.

10. A Reminder of Home

Being away from home for the first time can be overwhelming. Even an out-going and independent student can feel a little homesick from time to time.

Make sure they feel a connection to home with a personalized accessory. On Shutterfly, you can create a sweet photo keychain (price: $5) or pen holder for their desk.

These small reminders are a way to let your student know they’re never too far from home.


11. Rocketbook Notebook

With the Rocketbook Everlast (price: $34) your student can take notes the old fashioned way but with a modern twist.

When they jot down their notes or begin a sketch, they can scan the page, upload it to a cloud service, and then erase the page with just a little water and a towel. The notebook can be used over and over again so there’s no need for multiple notebooks.

In order to use the notebook to its full potential, they will need to download the Rocketbook app on their smartphone.

12. LED Smart Lightbulb

A Bluetooth enabled light bulb can brighten up the room and play music at the same time.

Whether they’re feeling silly and having a dance party or trying to unwind after midterms, this light bulb (price: $15.99) can be adjusted accordingly.

Just screw the light bulb into any lamp or lighting fixture and connect via Bluetooth. Control the volume, light color, and intensity with the included remote control.

Ask the Reader: Do you have any really COOL gift ideas I should add to this list? Let me know in the comments section below, thanks.

By Kyle James

Photo credit to Pexels.



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