For many parents, these next few weeks will be a whirlwind of emotions; there are sure to be some tears and maybe even a few arguments, as high school seniors across the country get ready to take on the world. It doesn’t seem that long ago that these same students clung to their parents legs, begging them not to go (remember kindergarten?). Where did the time fly? Now, seniors can’t wait to leave their parents behind and start a new adventure. Although these past 18 years may have been filled with ups and downs (no child is perfect!), it’s time for parents to celebrate this milestone and show their children how proud they are of their accomplishments. Choosing the perfect graduation gift, however, can be a bit tricky. After consulting several soon-to-be graduates, I think I have created a list of potential items that every high school senior would be grateful to receive.
Most kids live on their phones; they have become tiny little computers that manage their lives and no self-respecting student would leave home without one. Some of the more popular models include: iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S 4 or Note II, and the new HTC Windows phone.
Forget desktop computers and laptops, students want something small and easy to carry. Tablets allow students to surf the Web, take notes, and communicate with ease. They weigh practically nothing and are cheaper than most laptops. Most experts agree that the iPad ($499) is the best on the market, but for those who may want something a little less expensive, the Kindle Fire HD ($199) is a good investment.
Students will need to cook in their dorm rooms, so purchasing small appliances, such as coffee makers, crock pots and blenders, is always a good idea. Other suggested personal appliances include fans, Panini makers and pizza ovens. Parents should check with the college housing department before buying any items, just to be sure they are allowed.
Students can often save money by buying in bulk, especially when they pool their resources with roommates and other students. Parents can help by purchasing a membership to shopping clubs like Sam’s, BJ’s and Costco. Gym memberships are not recommended, as most students have free access to these amenities on campus.
Getting around campus and a college town can get expensive, so parents may wish to consider purchasing a bike or scooter. Bikes are inexpensive, easy to maintain and store, and will help students fight the dreaded Freshman 15. Scooters are a better choice than cars, as they have cheaper insurance rates, better gas mileage and cost less to maintain. An annual bus pass is also another option.
Whether it’s drowning out the noise in the dormitory or trying to study in the library, noise-cancelling headphones are a great choice for all students. Some of the favorites among graduating seniors include Beats by Dr. Dre, Sony and Bose.
Parents can get in some early college shopping and create a unique graduation by making a fun survival kit for their child. Ideas are endless, but some of the more popular ones include: Dorm Survival, First Aid, Laundry Room, Exam Cram, Study Break, and my personal favorite – Snack Attack! Items can be placed in baskets, pillowcases, gift boxes, or just about anything!
Jewelry is always a popular item among students, especially the girls. Whether it’s a nice watch, necklace or a graduation ring, parents can make it even more special by having it personalized or adding an engraved message. For those who may need a little extra luck, a four-leaf clover pendant may be the ticket.
Nearly every student I asked said that he/she would prefer a gift card to a traditional present like luggage or clothing. Some of the most popular cards included: Visa®, Mastercard®, Target, Walmart and almost any fast food restaurant. Others parents may want to consider are Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy and Amazon.
It may be last on my list, but it is the top gift request from most seniors. Although it may seem like a present that requires little thought, parents can jazz it up a bit by presenting it in some creative ways. One of my favorites is the money lei, which students can wear at their graduation ceremony. Just be sure they have a bodyguard nearby!
Did I miss something? Share it with me in the comment section. I’d love to see what other great gift ideas are floating around.
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