15 Graduation Gifts for High School Seniors

Gifts for grads

When they toss their hats into the air, high school graduates begin the transition to postgrad life. Whether the student is college-bound, taking a gap year or jumping into a career, mark this important time in every grad’s life with a gift that shows family and friends care. Finding the perfect gift can be a challenge, particularly for those looking to go beyond buying gift cards. Start by thinking about what the graduate’s new life will hold, as well as the memories he or she will cherish from high school. Here are 15 graduation gift ideas to consider.


When in doubt, there’s one gift that can’t go wrong: cash. Those pursuing work after high school may need money for gas, rent and a business wardrobe. If the graduate is taking a gap year, a little extra cash can add to exciting new experiences abroad or at home. College-bound kids can always use cash, too, for textbooks, class fees and late-night pizza.

Amazon Prime subscription

Possibly the most useful gift to get a high school graduate, an Amazon Prime subscription means free and fast shipping for textbooks, school supplies and even groceries to stock up for meals and other necessities. If the grad is planning a move, Amazon gear can help outfit the new apartment or dorm and even furnish a fresh wardrobe.

Portable cellphone chargers

Whether they use cellphones to post on Instagram or call home, portable chargers or power banks are a technology must-have that can help graduates stay connected.

Voice-controlled assistants

Life after high school can be chaotic. Give graduates a helping hand with popular intelligent voice assistants, like the Amazon Echo or Google Home, to help students do research, relax with some music, study, set reminders and more.

Transit or gas card

Load up a metro, Uber, Lyft or gas card for recent high school graduates to help them get around campus when they head to school or to and from their summer job.


Biking on a college campus is a great way for students to be outdoors, exercise and get to class quickly. And for a freshman without a car, owning a bike can be crucial for off-campus trips to grocery stores and parks.


Help the graduate get off on the right foot with a reliable laptop for research, essays, job hunting and, of course, a little unwinding every now and then with a movie. Computers aren’t cheap, but they are essential for students to boost their GPA and respond to emails, among other tasks. Look for graduation and Memorial Day deals and discounts through the student’s college, or split the cost with others.

Music or TV streaming service

A monthly subscription to services like Netflix, Hulu, Spotify or Tidal is a gift that keeps on giving. New college students will appreciate the opportunity to watch their favorite shows with friends and listen to their favorite artists during study breaks.


For walks between classes and studying in noisy on-campus housing, quality headphones are essential. Different lifestyles call for different headphones, so if the graduate is a runner, be sure to look for headphones that will stand up to lots of movement. Or go wireless with options like the latest AirPods, Beats or Jabra headphones.


A small rolling suitcase or overnight bag can come in handy for weekend trips back home, studying abroad or spring break. It’s a practical gift, but it will encourage the graduate to explore the world.

Airline gift card, voucher or miles

Another way to encourage high school graduates to see the world is to give them airline gift cards, vouchers or miles that allow for flexible dates and destinations. These can be used for the graduate to fly home, go with friends on a spring break trip or fund a summer hiking trip through Europe, for example.

Group games

Life after high school is a time to make new friends. Skip the old-fashioned board games and stock the graduate up with fun group games. Cards Against Humanity is popular, so even if the student already has it, expansion packs can spice the game up. Also consider Catch Phrase, Bananagrams, What Do You Meme? or Never Have I Ever for hours of laughs.

College gear

For college-bound students, consider stocking them up on T-shirts, hats and everything they need to represent on college game days. If the college is local, these might be available in local grocery stores and shops, but for students heading out-of-state, check out the campus store’s online site to get gear delivered by graduation.

Concert tickets

With the stress of finals now over, give graduates a gift to help them relax and have fun this summer. Get tickets for the graduate and a friend to attend an upcoming concert held by their favorite musician or artist.

Something personal

The best gifts are often those that connect with the high school graduate on an individual level. Check out personalized gift options on sites like Etsy. An engraved necklace or sentimental wall photo that involve thought and time on the giver’s part can inject more meaning into a gift. Think of a favorite memory or a funny saying shared with the graduate that could be captured in a personalized and unique gift.