Gift Ideas for College Students

By the time you find the right storage box for your child's high school cap and gown, he's off to college. Regardless of whether he's living at home or packing his bags for a cross-country move, send him off to his freshman adventure with useful gifts that promote scholastic success, accommodate a little relaxing down time or help him manage the living quarters in campus housing.

TV

Even if your child's dorm roommate brings a TV set, you know from at-home experience that a shared set deprives someone of his favorite program. To avoid the annoyances that can develop over who gets to watch what, provide him with a dorm-sized TV he can set on his desk. Look for an HDTV with the responsiveness to display fast action clearly, so he can enjoy movies or collegiate sports with great picture quality. Select a set size that makes sense in the layout and dimensions of his room.

Computer

College matriculation forms a perfect opportunity to give your child a new computer. A notebook accompanies him to the library, study groups and classrooms or laboratories, taps in to his campus email account, and helps him manage his schedule. Include a stylish carrying case or a gift certificate so he can choose his own. If he already has an up-to-date laptop, look to an all-in-one desktop system he can use to study in his room. Pack a selection of cables—Ethernet and USB make useful choices—so he always has the connections he needs. A USB flash drive that hangs from his key ring is a convenient portable storage option.

Mobile Devices

A new smartphone or tablet can help your collegian stay in touch with home, play tunes, manage class schedules and track information for class papers. If you choose a device that can coordinate with his TV or computer, he can sync his entertainment on a larger screen. Include a gift card for apps and tunes so he can personalize his device with the capabilities that suit his style. Some large smartphones combine the functions of both classes of mobile devices into one. To make his mobile device the centerpiece of an audio system he can use without headphones, add an audio dock that accepts his phone or tablet.

Cleaning

College life includes your child's introduction to the drudgery of away-from-home laundry day, complete with the trek to a dorm or campus laundromat. Make the chore more bearable with a set of laundry products that matches the capabilities of the equipment he'll be using. Some colleges offer high-efficiency equipment in their laundry facilities, partially because of the energy savings they can gain from ENERGY STAR–qualified machines, so you may be able to send along a set of the same products you use in your HE equipment at home. To help him keep his dorm room tidy, give your child a vacuum cleaner with HEPA filtration so he can clear away the accumulated grunge that lurks in the corners. A bagless system cuts down on the number of consumables he needs.

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