22 Best Ideas for College Graduation Gifts for 2022 Grads

College graduation is one of life’s happiest and most exciting milestones, but possibly one of the hardest to find an appropriate gift. The gifts we get our young adults and their friends will vary according to the kids themselves, but rest assured here are things that everyone would be thrilled to receive.

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Great College Graduation Gifts

1. Apple AirPods Pro

If you are looking for a tech gift that your son or daughter will use (and thank you for) EVERY DAY, this is it. Apple AirPods Pro are wildly popular and have amazing functionality. The AirPodPros have noise-cancellation capabilities that are an upgrade from earlier models which, in open offices, are a necessity.

AirPods Pro

2. YETI Tumbler

YETI is a legendary brand and your son or daughter would love to have a travel mug to keep their coffee hot all morning long. Personalize it with their initials or college and they will use this — and thank you — every day.

Yeti with collegiate logo

3. Framebridge Frame

They have worked incredibly hard for that college diploma. Give them a simple way to frame it before it gets lost as they move into a new apartment and their new post-grad life. Framebridge takes the agony out of custom framing with a 3-step process. Pick out a frame style online, mail in the diploma (Framebridge provides FREE shipping materials to keep the document from getting damaged), and hang your finished frame. See examples of the elegant diploma frames here.

Framebridge frame

4. Classic Leather Tote

Your daughter will love this leather tote with room for everything including her laptop. The leather is lusciously soft but lightweight. Several great colors to choose from and get it monogrammed for an extra personal touch.

5. Tile

Seriously, we have yet to meet a teen or young adult who doesn’t need this. This Bluetooth tracker, durable, water-resistant, and loud, will help them keep track of all their things. Can’t find your phone or keys? Well, as long as you have your Tile, you’re golden.

tile tracking device

6. Echo Dot 4th Gen

How did anyone live before Alexa? She is a voice-controlled smart speaker and she is everything. Just ask Alexa the weather, the time, the score, the spelling of a word, who was President in 1936…she knows it all. Just trust us, your grad needs this, actually so do you.

Echo Dot 4th gen

7. Personalized Tote Bag

Minted is our go-to site for unique, artist-designed gifts, including a line of stylish cotton tote bags. Made from 100% cotton with leather straps, the totes can be personalized with your grad’s name engraved on the leather tag, for free. Seventeen patterns to choose from.

8. Panda Planner

Are you always trying to suggest novel ways for your young adult to be better organized or to set goals? If you are, this is the gift idea for you. It’s a daily planner for 6 months. It has a nifty daily view, which would allow them to organize their life on the daily.

There is an end-of-the-day review that helps them focus on everything they have accomplished that day. This is for the planners among us or the would-be planners and is the top pick for “goal planning” by the New York Times Wirecutter.


9. TAKEYA Cold Brew Coffee Maker

Is your soon-to-be grad a cold-brewed coffee lover? This reusable, at-home cold brew maker has a 4-cup capacity and produces smooth, well-balanced, concentrated coffee. Save money and the environment and enjoy delicious coffee. Sounds like a win-win to us.

cold brew coffee

10. Meet 100 People by Pat Hedley

Young adults can learn the art of meeting people to expand their network of professional contacts, a skill that will enhance their professional development and job prospects throughout their careers. Pat Hedley has written THE book on the topic and she is offering a 15% discount with the coupon code Grown2021.

Meet 100 people

Watch Pet Hedley’s TED Talk here:

11. The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter and How to Make the Most of Them by Dr. Meg Jay

In this riveting book, Dr. Jay explains that the twenties are the most defining years of adulthood. They should not be squandered because this is the decade to get things done; the things not accomplished will have far-reaching consequences. Your twenty-something NEEDS to read this. NEW, updated, and revised. (March 2021)

Defining Decade

Watch Dr. Jay’s Ted wildly-popular TED Talk here:

12. GMorning, GNight: Little Pep Talks for You & Me by Lin-Manuel Miranda

There may be no one in the universe who inspires more admiration than Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the amazing musical, Hamilton. But before he created that mega-masterpiece, he was posting daily tweets to inspire his followers. This book is a collection of his very best and is already a New York Times Bestseller.

Best books for college students

13. The Last Lecture By Dr. Randy Pausch

In one of the most famous lectures ever given, Dr. Pausch imparts wisdom, humor, and inspiration, all reprinted in this slim volume that belongs on every new grad’s bookshelf. Facing a terminal diagnosis, computer science professor Randy Pausch gave his students (and all of us) a true gift when he shared his advice for really living, all while he was dying. This is a must-own title that young adults will reach for again and again when coming face to face with the real world.

Best books for college students

14. MVMT watch

MVMT watches are everywhere these days because they are fashionable, luxury watches at a reasonable price. Handsome watch with leather straps or a metal bracelet, and a minimalist face. Perfect for young men or women.

15. Leatherology Slim Wallet

If your son could use a more conventional wallet with room for all ID, insurance, and credit cards, consider this slim bifold wallet from Leatherology. Add initials and choose from 10 different colors. Available with RIFD (radio-frequency identification) blocking, too.

16. Instant Pot 3 Qtr

For the college graduate, this is the thing. Learning to cook can be challenging, but learning to cook with the InstaPot, not so much. Our young adults will be out of the house most of the day, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have a healthy, warm meal at night and it gets expensive to eat out every night. Get them this InstaPot — it’s miraculous.

instant pot

17. Lululemon Backpack

The Lululemon aptly named “Everyday Backpack” is perfect for life on the go, from work to the gym and everywhere on weekends. With plenty of pockets, including an exterior one for a 16″ laptop, and inside ones for the rest, this is a smart-looking bag that comes in a handful of sleek colors.

lululemon backpack

18. Everlane for Gifts and Apparel

We are big fans of Everlane and think that just about ANYTHING you find your grad on their site will be a welcome and stylish gift. They have modern and versatile apparel, shoes, and accessories and would be a great site for clothing that is more grown-up looking for any work setting.

Everlane jacket for him

19. Bose Noise-Cancelling Headphones

It was not just the dorm or college apartment that was noisy for your grad. Open office floor plans or work from home with roommates(!) are all distracting and loud. These wireless headphones are excellent and would be a very welcome gift.

Bose 700

20. Tumi Continental Dual Access 4 Wheeled Carry-On

This Continental Carry-On meets the carry-on size requirements for travel within North America. It includes a built-in USB port, a separate garment sleeve for a suit. In addition to being extremely functional, it is extraordinarily well-made. It’s such high quality that your kid will tire of it long before they need to replace it.

21. Casper Mattress

One of the most expensive things about being a young grad is having to buy everything for a new apartment, especially if your son or daughter has lived in a dorm for four years. Our recently graduated young adults bought Casper mattresses and loved the convenience of receiving them in a box just like any other delivery. (Yes, they expand when released from the box.)

NEW! Take $100 off a Casper Mattress and $200 off a Wave Mattress with code GROWNFLOWN. Valid on Foam and Hybrid collections; not valid on the Essential. Terms apply.


22. Yurman Cable Classics Center Bracelet

We love everything David Yurman, but this sweet bracelet caught our eye and we guarantee your graduate will love it.

Still Looking for More Grad Gift Ideas:

Grad Gifts for Your Off-to-Work Kids 

About Grown and Flown

Mary Dell Harrington and Lisa (Endlich) Heffernan are the co-founders of Grown and Flown the #1 site for parents of teens, college students and young adults, reaching millions of parents every month. They are writers (Lisa is a New York Times bestselling author), moms, wives and friends. They started the Grown and Flown Parents Facebook Group and are co-authors of Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults (Flatiron Books) now in paperback.

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