Best graduation gifts for her: Picks for middle school, high school, and college
Help your favorite graduate prepare for her new chapter whether she’s entering 9th grade, college, or the job market. The best graduation gifts for her will be ones that celebrate her accomplishments, and set her up for success.
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From kindergarten to college, graduating is an immense accomplishment that any family or friend should be proud of. Being a recent grad can be a daunting experience—you probably want to show her your support by giving a useful and fun gift that she’ll remember for years to come. With that in mind, we’ve created this gift guide so you can find something she’s guaranteed to love. From a new bag for travel to relaxing bath products, we’ve consulted our selves, sisters, mothers, and friends to figure out the best graduation gifts for her next phase in life.
- Best 8th-grade graduation gift: Fujifilm Instax Mini 11
- Best personalized gift: Mejuri Engravable Bar Bracelet
- Best for high schoolers: MacBook Pro
- Best gift for readers: Kindle Oasis
- Best for college graduation job seekers: YETI Tumbler
- Best for new, grown-up apartments: Saveur Selects Cookware Set
- Best for travellers: Fjallraven Kanken Totepack
- Best for homesick grad: Homesick Scented Candle
- Best for the stressed-out grad: OUAI Chill Pills – Bath Bombs
Best 8th-grade graduation gift: Fujifilm Instax Mini 11
An instant film camera makes an excellent gift for a young graduate. Leaving behind middle school can seem simple at first but comes with its challenges, just like any big change. Many recent eighth-grade grads move on to different high schools, which means parting from long-time friends. An instant camera is a great graduation gift for her and will be a fun way to preserve memories that she and her besties can hold onto for years to come. We foresee an entire corkboard full of photographs populating her “new ninth-grader” walls.
The Instax Mini 11 is equipped with automatic exposure mode for the perfect shutter speed, selfie mode to make sure everyone gets in the picture, and a pack of rainbow-bordered film to add a little extra-special pizzazz. It also comes with a cute carrying case so she can easily take it with her to grad parties, end-of-summer barbecues, and back-to-school blowouts.
Best personalized gift: Mejuri Engravable Bar Bracelet
Personalized graduation gifts for her are a great way to give something special with sentimental value. These bracelets by Mejuri are beautiful, and the sterling silver or 14k yellow gold options will also go with everything, so you don’t need to worry about whether or not it matches her wardrobe. If a bracelet isn’t for her, Mejuri also has a customizable necklace, charms, and rings.
Each bracelet can fit up to ten characters, including a few select symbols. Think about engraving her graduation date, a special short message, initials, or first name. Personalized graduation gifts coming from a friend or family member will let her know you are proud of her and encourage her to be herself no matter what lies ahead.
Best for high schoolers: MacBook Pro
With the first day of college fast approaching, give her a high school graduation gift that she will use every day, and we mean Every. Single. Day. A laptop is an essential tool to get through university. From researching to writing papers, your high school graduate will need more independence and freedom when it comes to completing work. You’ll want them to be able to quickly type out notes during class, find extra focus in a quiet coffee shop, and finish a thirty-page thesis without being chained to a school computer. A laptop’s portability is perfect for trips to the library or bringing work home on school breaks, and a thoughtful graduation gift. Not only is a laptop great for studying, but it’ll also improve relaxation time with the opportunity to watch tv and stream music, plus communication will be better than ever now that she’ll be able to Skype, Zoom, or Facetime from just about anywhere.
The Apple MacBook Pro is the perfect size with the right amount of storage. Choose between a 256 or 512-gigabyte capacity so she can save all her work without needing an additional hard drive. With up to 20 hours of battery life and an 8-core CPU for fast performance, she’ll be able to get everything she needs to do done in a day without being worried about finding a charger. This Apple laptop will allow her to study hard, try new things, learn new skills, and explore her passions—a great graduation gift for her by our standards.
Best gift for readers: Kindle Oasis
If you are celebrating a graduate that loved literature classes and couldn’t help but bring home a bunch of hardcovers during Christmas break, we suggest gifting a Kindle reader. Once you leave school, it becomes impractical to carry around tons of reading material in a backpack, though that doesn’t mean you need to curb your book-hoarding habit. Rather than crowd her tiny post-grad apartment with books, e-readers make unique gifts that will let her store hundreds in a device the size of a compact paperback.
The Kindle Oasis has 8 gigabytes which means storage for thousands of books and 35 audiobooks. The e-reader is only 0.33-inches thick and weighs under 7 ounces, so she can easily slip it into her purse or backpack. This unit is equipped with wifi and cellular connectivity so she can download new reading material no matter where she is. There are a ton of adjustable settings, including text size, fonts, and light shade with a crisp 300ppi display and one-handed page turns buttons. A single charge can last up to six weeks, so she’ll never be found without a book to read.
Best for college graduation job seekers: YETI Tumbler
Looking for jobs as a recent post-grad can be thrilling and exhausting. It’s hard to keep up with applications, reformatting your resume, follow-up emails, and traipsing around town going from interview to interview until you find the perfect match. We all know that a little caffeine can go a long way when it comes to putting a pep in your step and giving you the energy needed to persevere. Rather than sip coffee in the cafeteria, a recent graduate is always moving, and she’ll need a thermos to go along with her.
One meeting, one interview, lunch with a friend, side-gig in the afternoon, a busy college grad needs her coffee to stay hot all day long. A YETI tumbler will keep any beverage hot for hours at a time (or cold if she’s drinking cold brew in the summer) and is a perfect graduation gift for her. The 30-ounce capacity is more than enough room for frequent refueling, and the double-wall vacuum insulation traps heat without burning hands and fingers. It comes in over twenty-five colors, so you’re sure to find her favorite.
Best for new, grown-up apartments: Saveur Selects Cookware Set
Graduating from college means leaving behind meal plans, cafeterias, all-you-can-eat salad bars, library cafes, and other ready-to-eat options. And while we all wish ordering takeout every day was cost-effective, chances are a new graduate will not be placing an online order for every meal. A cookware set is the perfect college graduation gift for her, to inspire her to try something new and get comfortable in the kitchen. This cookware set from Saveur comes with a 10-inch skillet, a two-quart chef’s pan, a six-quart stockpot, and two interchangeable lids. They are compatible with any cooktop, dishwasher/oven-safe, with textured heat-resistant handles. The stainless-steel construction will help her achieve an even distribution of heat, while the lids will ensure temperature retention and lock in moisture. Whether she signs up for a meal delivery kit, looks to cookbooks for inspiration, or follows family recipes, she’ll be able to feel confident with all her kitchen basics at the ready.
Best for travellers: Fjallraven Kanken Totepack
Whether she discovered her love of travel while studying abroad or she can finally schedule the big trip she’s always wanted to take now that she has her degree, a gift designed with jet setting in mind is sure to make her smile. If there is one thing every globetrotter needs, it’s a good backpack; something sturdy and light with ample storage. It should be comfortable enough to wear for hours at a time and hold all the essentials, preferably with a front pocket for easy access to a passport, train ticket, water bottle, and more.
When it comes to the best graduation gifts for her travel lifestyle, get something versatile. The Fjallraven Kanken Totepack is a fantastic backpack for both travel and everyday use, so no matter where she is and what she’s doing, this bag will be her new best friend. It easily converts from a backpack to a tote bag for maximum flexibility and compatibility with additional luggage. The bold fabric is durable, easy to wipe clean, and dirt/water-resistant. It comes with a 13-inch laptop sleeve, two side pockets, a front zippered pocket, and fourteen liters of storage. There is even a seat pad in the back pocket so she can relax while waiting for her next bus, boat, train, or plane.
Best for homesick grads: Homesick Scented Candle
Leaving home to head off to boarding school, set out for college, or start a new job can be an exciting yet emotional experience. It’s tough to leave behind the comfort of your home and reassurance of your family; even as we adjust to new surroundings, we all get a little homesick from time to time. While it’s true that any recent graduate can take pictures with them, you can provide a powerful sensory experience with a scented candle that reminds her of where she came from.
Homesick’s soy wax scented candles combine some of her favorite scents into a 13.75-ounce candle; with over sixty hours of burn time, she can have a whiff of her favorite place anytime, anywhere. There is a candle for each state, and the scents are expertly curated to create a cohesive palette inspired by each location’s best smells. They even have city-specific options; we know what you’re thinking, “Aren’t cities notorious for foul smells”? Yes, yes they are, but Homesick has managed to identify the most pleasant memory-invoking combinations. For example, “New York City” has notes of jasmine, grapefruit, water lilies, musk, and concrete to evoke springtime in Central Park and crowded department stores. More nature-friendly states, like Colorado, feature notes of spruce, cedar, and fresh snow, to remind her of the Rocky Mountains.
Best for the stressed-out grad: OUAI Chill Pills – Bath Bombs
After four years of dedication and hard work, your graduate could use a break. Now that she finally has a little time for herself, help her relax with the perfect set of bath bombs. While they may seem simple, a lavish bath can do a lot to help you unwind, destress, and recenter. A luxurious soak can release a ton of tension, especially after turning in that final paper or acing that last exam. These OUAI Chill Pills melt away when exposed to hot water, releasing rose and jasmine scents into the air, as well as jojoba, safflower, and hemp seed oils to calm and soothe skin. They won’t stain her tub, nor will they leave any colorful residue or glitter on the body. Bath bombs are unique gifts that will help her let go of past stressors and look forward to the future.
A final note on the best graduation gifts for her
Graduation is, above all, a time for celebration; it is a symbol of all the hard work the young woman in your life has put in to make it through to the next chapter. This gift guide is meant to help you honor her dedication with a great gift that will set her up for even more success in the future, remind her of where she came from, or let her know that she has friends and family who have her back. Regardless of what you end up getting, the best graduation gifts for her are those given with love, attention, and admiration.
PopSci wants to help you find the most useful and expert shopping recommendations for the best gift ideas. Searching for more unique gifts? Check out more gift guides here: Relaxing Gifts, Educational Gifts, and more Great Gift Ideas.