We have gathered a list of high school graduation gifts that look forward and backward. Presents like a unique photo book of high school friends or uniquely personal jewelry help to celebrate this important milestone and recall so much of what our teens are leaving behind. But other gifts on our list include some of the true college essentials that any high school senior will need as they prepare to leave home for the next phase of their life.
All of these are under $100.
Note: We receive compensation from purchases made through some of the links in this post, but the opinions are our own.
Best high school graduation gifts
Give your son or daughter a legendary YETI travel mug or water bottle, and add their monogram and college logo for a truly fantastic gift. YETI mugs keep beverages hot or cold for hours and are available in various colors and sizes.
A durable YETI mug would be the perfect gift for your teen.
The Lululemon belt bag would be a great grad gift. Available in numerous trendy colors, the strap on the bag is adjustable and can be worn on a belt or cross-body style.
Noise-canceling earphones like these, the highly-rated Anker Soundcore Q20, can be a lifesaver. Even the quietest roommate makes noise; your grad will appreciate these once it’s time to hit the books despite the music being blasted inside that tiny dorm room. This is one of the best graduation presents for students living in a dorm.
The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 is the highest-rated portable Bluetooth speaker and a gift your son or daughter would love to have in their new dorm room. With excellent audio, it is also portable, dustproof, waterproof, and floatable. Available in multiple colors.
Give your student the gift of paper planner to help them organize their new life as a college student. Experts suggest a paper planner is a better way to manage their time which is so different than high school.
Alexa is Amazon’s voice-controlled virtual assistant, and your student can ask her to play music, set the alarm for morning classes, hear the weather forecast, or the latest score from their favorite team. They can also listen to audiobooks, summons an Uber or Domino’s pizza, and much more. This compact device is a great tech choice for a student.
Your daughter will love keeping her unique jewelry pieces organized in this pretty, functional zippered case. This slim travel bag can fit in a drawer in her dorm or would work well as a travel case so she can safely pack jewelry or other valuables for adventures in the future. It is available in rose gold, taupe, or lilac.
A notebook is a handy gift, and thanks to Minted, they’re also handsome. Choose from dozens of striking cover designs or use pics of your graduate to create a one-of-kind keepsake to help them keep track of what comes next.
Weighted blankets are heavier than typical quilts or throw blankets that can offer a soothing feeling when you slip off to sleep or curl up in one to relax with Netflix or a book. The Luna brand is highly recommended for weighted blankets, and we think this Sherpa Throw style would make an excellent gift for your new grad.
This smartphone printer is small enough to fit in a pocket. It turns photos or screenshots into high-quality 2×3″ prints and would be a fun gift for your grad to capture moments with friends at graduation parties.
Basic bedding and bath items for a dorm room or apartment are essential for college students, and these Hydrocotton® Quick-Dry Organic Towels would be a practical gift for your teen. Available in six pretty colors, there are hand and bath towels, facecloths, and bath mats.
This safe is handy for keeping valuables such as cash, prescription meds, a passport, or jewelry in a dorm room.
Is your teen feeling sad about the friends they are leaving behind? Create a photo book with pictures of their graduation year with Mixbook, the most highly-rated site for photo books. They can take this book to college and remember all the good times and good friends from their hometown and younger years.
A toolset is one of the most highly-recommended grad gifts and one that they will use throughout college, in their first apartment, and into the real world beyond.
This packing set helps them stay organized while moving into the dorm and helps students keep things orderly in their new space. Eagle Creek gets top reviews and has a lifetime warranty.
Write your high school grad a message, and your handwriting will be made into a bracelet. This would be a personal gift for your daughter to remind her of your love and support.
This robe is perfect for walking to or from the showers or relaxing in the dorm after showering. With two roomy pockets, this robe might be all your teen needs to carry toiletries to the communal bathroom in the dorm. It’s soft, machine-washable, and available in eight colors.
The iconic bag from IKEA is not longer being made so consider the Grown and Flown blue bag to help your teen move into and out of their dorm room.
There is NEVER enough seating in a dorm room when friends visit, and this folding chair can be stored flat if not needed. It’s a comfy spot for studying, reading, or chatting with friends.
Your student’s college has a bookstore, and they will want to shop for game-day t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, and more. Did you know Fanatics has officially licensed merchandise from more than 500 colleges? It is a fantastic site to shop for unique apparel and gifts that the bookstore may not offer.
More Grad Gift Ideas