Grad Gift Ideas for Every Grad

Grad season is here, which means folks are scrambling to make arrangements for their graduating loved ones. One tradition that is commonly practiced by the friends and family of a new graduate is grad gifts.

Grad gifts are an interesting tradition since there aren’t any specific rules that have to be followed and they’re truly open for personalization to suit the receiving grad. If you’re looking some ideas I’ve compiled a list of some gift ideas.

Photo by coco tafoya on Unsplash


Every grad and their needs are different so when in doubt just ask your grad what they would be interested in!

The items on this list were added for being mostly universal, meeting different budgets, and being useful for the grad to avoid unnecessary waste.

First aid course

Offering to cover the cost of a first aid or similar course can be a helpful way for your grad to add certifications to their resume and make finding jobs to fund their education a bit easier.

If your grad is going to be working on a boat or is interested in marine biology, funding their Marine Basic First Aid course can be a huge help.

Move-in kit/household essentials

Every move-in day on campus I’ve seen someone not have scissors or a box cutter to open their moving boxes and their packages easily, needing a screwdriver for a small bookshelf, and any number of situations where some basic tools would be handy.

Some of the most useful items are those that students forget the most. Consider compiling a stock of handy items like a screwdriver with multiple heads, scissors, needle nose pliers, a flashlight, batteries, bandaids, duct tape, packing tape, removable hooks, poster putty, first aid supplies, and anything else you can think of being helpful as your grad moves in to their new space. Bonus points if you compile all of this into a sturdy easy-to-move container with a handle!

Emergency kit/72-hour survival kit

While you hope this is something your grad never has to use, many students don’t have emergency supplies either because of the cost or because it’s not something they’ve considered needing. You can make your own or buy one pre-made.

Grad dinner

Let your grad pick the place and offer to foot the bill. Alternately you could offer to pay for a brunch, or if distance is a factor you can e-transfer funds to cover a celebratory meal or treat.

If you’re feeling extra you can always arrange for a special treat to be delivered with flowers or something more suited to your grad.

Weather appropriate apparel

Many graduates, regardless of what program they’ve just completed, end up moving, so consider buying them or giving them money to buy clothing for the weather in their new city.

If your grad is attending UVic I recommend waterproof but comfortable foot wear, outerwear that layers well, a quality raincoat, and an umbrella. If they’re moving from a city that rarely gets snow or prolonged cold weather to one that does consider funding a nice pair of winter boots and a warm coat. In both cases your grad will get a ton of use from the gift and stay warm and dry in their new city.

Solid footwear for campus

University campuses and many cities are a lot more enjoyable if you have proper footwear. Consider helping your grad get a pair of shoes that are made for walking that will suit their style.

Lab apparel

If your grad will be working or learning in a lab consider getting them the PPE for their lab. For undergrads this is often a lab coat and safety glasses, but make sure to check what your student will need.

If your grad likes personalized items consider getting the lab coat embroidered with their name, initials, or something meaningful to them.

Decent luggage

Fun fact: my mom received a luggage set when she graduated high school that is still in perfect working order. In fact, I’ve borrowed one of the suitcases for moving a few times and it hasn’t failed me yet. Quality luggage is handy for moving, but can also be a great gift for a graduate planning to take a gap year to travel.

What are your thoughts on grad gifts?

You may also like...