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Graduation Gifts: What to Get Your Graduate!

by Sophia Huxley
Last updated on January 14, 2022

Being able to give the perfect gift to the soon-to-be high school graduates or college graduate in your life is something we all shoot for. Celebrating their achievement with a thoughtful gift is a special thing that we hope we can help you with. Are you struggling to come up with gift ideas? Are you panicking about your graduation gift choices? This graduation season, come prepared with the best graduation gifts so you can focus on spending time with the grad.

Finding the Perfect Graduation Gifts

We have a few tips on how to find the perfect graduation gift. The gift you give is more than a material reward for your graduate. It is an opportunity to show your grad that you were there while they studied, you know them well, and you are thrilled to see them be rewarded for all their hard work. Make sure your unique gift comes from the heart. The first step is that you’ll need to come up with some graduation gift ideas.

Graduation Gift Ideas

Step one, graduation gift ideas. The best gifts come from the heart, so try to see if you have anything off the top of your head that you have in common with the new grad. Do you both play music? Did you spend time in their college town? Are you both coffee friends? Take these little connections to each other and create a gift box. A piece of musical equipment or wall art based on your shared favorite album is a good call. A college sweatshirt or a piece of merchandise from a popular local franchise and a coffee maker are all things that will start you off on the right foot—especially the coffee maker, which seems to be a big favorite. Once you find the right thing, it is a matter of looking into the little details next.

The Finer Details

If you want your gift to really sing at this upcoming high school or college graduation, your research will matter. For example, if you decide to reward your graduates with their first bottle of a luxurious perfume for their school year, go see if the local perfumery does custom engravings or wrapping. That way, on the day of the college graduation, your grads unwrap graduation gifts that are unique in their own way, and they’ll probably keep the bottle for the memories. Gifts with special touches like that are so personal and fun. They are a great way as a family to leave a message of pride and joy for your graduate.

Wrap It Up

Like most things in life, the packaging matters. Take the time to get your graduate’s gift wrapped nicely. They may remember unwrapping your gift in their favorite place for years to come. Make good memories with them by wrapping your gift delicately, or even have some fun and wrap your gift in a shape that does not hint at what it is. For example, wrap a laptop as a lamp or a chair. Your graduate will laugh as they pull back the paper, and you will make their graduation gifts even more fun for them.

Graduate Gifts for College Students versus High School Students

A graduation cap with a bow on top, representing graduation gifts.

Is your student about to become a college grad or soon-to-be high school alumni? Your gift will likely need to change depending on the answer. Much like birthdays, your recipient’s age is why your gift will need to shift. One gift might overlap the two age groups, but many graduates want something different after college than high school. We’ve put some of the defining gift differences below.

High School Student

A high school student may appreciate graduate gifts that reference their upcoming college or trade school work or are just fun. You can celebrate their big day with a slightly smaller gift if they will likely be going on to another type of schooling where there will be another graduation. Remember, though, if this is their final academic achievement make sure to do it up big!

A great pick is looking for jewelry that is popular for their age. Also, getting them an essential thing for their future is a good idea. Some cash for a laptop or some dorm room decor can go a long way! You probably would not give high school graduates a more adult gift like an air fryer or an Amazon Echo. They won’t have the space for these items or a lot of use for them. A teenager still, high school grads will appreciate a gift box of sweets more than a post-grad investment plan.

College Student

While a post-grad investment plan is a fantastic idea, there are still plenty of beautiful gifts to give if you are not so lucky as to have that kind of cash lying around. There is no need to spring for a laptop or an Echo Dot, though they are great options. Consider picking a gift that references their college memories or helps them get started in their new post-college life. Things like a speaker for music, money gifts, classic jewelry, a trip to a different country, school supplies for grad school/their future teaching career, or other informed gifts are great for college graduation.

Ultimately college graduation gifts should be something that the recipient can use and love their whole life. Your first pair of diamond stud earrings or a fancy pen are the kind of inspired gifts you’re looking for. These gifts tell a story. They can use that pen for their first job contract, their first sale, their first book, and many more incredible moments, and you will have begun that tradition at college graduation.

The Great Gift Card Debate: Are They Okay?

Short answer, yes! Check-in with your graduate or their close family, but many people appreciate money to spend these days. We recommend getting more personal gifts like wall art for high school students. Cash may not mean much to them yet, so focus on material options. For your grads who are about to move into their first apartment, Amazon gift cards are going to be highly appreciated.

Tailor your gift cards to the person so that the person getting a new apartment receives an Amazon gift card, and the person who loves to cook at home receives an air fryer. Try to keep in mind whether, situationally, a gift card is a solid choice. People who are starting a new career, looking at new apartments, or are just recently graduated with no idea where they will go when they move from their dorm room likely do not want a bunch of stuff to lug around yet. Please give them the gift of flexibility in their next chapter with a gift card.

3 of The Best Graduation Gifts

No idea what to get at this point? Sometimes, even with some help, life throws us a curveball we are not always ready to catch. If finding the right graduation present is throwing you for a loop, here are three gifts that graduates love to get.

A 1 1/2ct Yellow Gold Petite Diamond Bracelet

4 different tennis bracelets of different metals and carat weights. No matter what color or diamond size a tennis bracelet has, it is sure to wow your graduate!

You cannot go wrong with this lovely piece. This diamond bracelet is 7″ long and is a great classic gift for a graduation. Grads have received lovely diamonds like these for several decades and will likely be ecstatic to get their first diamond bracelet. Whether the graduation is for college or high school, make sure your graduate is set to dazzle for life with a tennis bracelet like this.

Diamond Stud Earrings

3 pairs of diamond stud earrings in oval cut, princess cut, and round cut with 4 prongs. These are a versatile grad gift.

Find your pair of stunning diamond stud earrings within our curated assortment — made with only 100% lab-grown diamonds. Your graduate will surely be thrilled to open a velvet box and find such lovely treasures. Choose from round, oval, emerald, princess, pear, or round halo studs, each available in white gold and yellow gold so you can reflect your graduate’s style. Make graduation day even more special this year with some diamond flair!

A 1/2ct Solitaire Pendant

a woman with three glittering solitaire diamond necklaces on. These would make a stunning graduation gift!

A classic solitaire diamond pendant featuring a 1/2ct round diamond is always the answer to the questions in life. This simple, elegant piece is perfect for college graduation because it is a piece that someone can wear for many years to come. Friends will compliment it, their favorite shows likely feature it (Bridgerton anyone?) and most of all this is one of those graduation gifts that people can leave on all their life. No need to remove it, as it matches everything and can become part of their everyday look. A slam dunk in terms of graduation gifts, we have no doubt!