Trips to IKEA and Bed Bath & Beyond are all part of the college sendoff experience. A soon-to-be freshman needs a shower caddy and new comforter, but the following gift ideas go above and beyond the college basics. Keep in mind these graduation gifts that will help your loved one survive college:
Laptop & Accessories
Fancy gifts like the Apple\’s iPad or LSTN\’s reclaimed wooden headphones are tempting because of their luxurious allure, but a versatile, lightweight laptop with basic features will be the most functional gadget for a college student. A sleek notebook takes up minimal space in a dorm room and provides fundamental computer functions, from the classroom to the library.
TechRadar.com gathered a top-10 list of affordable laptops that can meet academic and entertainment needs, like note-taking and Google Hangouts with friends and family. The 11-inch MacBook Air 2013 ranks number one for its portable, thin design and efficient battery life. More budget-friendly options include the Samsung Chromebook and the Asus VivoBook S400C. Accessories such as a laptop lock, external hard drive and MiFi will also equip your student for college life.
College graduates face a tough job market and low entry-level salaries. Your future college grad will typically need some financial help, and setting up a mutual fund investment serves as a valuable gift. A mutual fund grows in value and cultivates financial mindfulness.
Opening a mutual fund account can come at a hefty price, but Mark Jewell of the Associated Press reports that fund companies may allow a smaller initial investment as long as you agree to monthly contributions. Other investment gift-giving ideas include paying off a credit card to repair a low credit score or match a Roth IRA. Jewell offers more fund investment tips, such as choosing appropriate funds and pooling resources.
If your high school grad\’s car is unreliable, a safe replacement or upgrade provides better protection, especially if your son or daughter is going away to school hundreds of miles away. Take away the fear the old clunker will break down during a weekend trip home. Nathan Adlen and Roman Mica from The Fast Lane Car discuss the top 10 best new cars for college students on TFLtalk. The Dodge Dart, Honda Fit and Toyota Corolla make the list for comfort, storage, good mileage, and stylish looks. Because of driveability, roominess and comfortable interior, the Volkswagen Golf takes the number spot.
College parents with a tight budget or even credit issues have options for buying a dependable car. Shop for used vehicles or find a dealership like DriveTime, a used car dealership and auto finance company that offers a used car leasing program. With the gift of driving dependability, you can be assured your college freshman makes it Panama City for spring break safe and sound.
Fitbit & Workout Gear
The freshman 15 isn\’t a myth. The pounds quickly add on while living away from home and adjusting to college life. From poor dining hall diets to academic stress, college life can weigh a student down, literally. Sylvia R. Karasu, M.D., sheds light on college weight gain for Psychology Today and explains how vending machines, fast food, increased alcohol consumption, buffet-style cafeterias, communal eating, and declining exercise pack on the pounds.
Fitbit can help keep your soon-to-be college student living healthily and actively. The Fitbit Flex is a wireless activity and sleep wristband that logs sleep activity, steps, distance, and burned calories. The device sets goals and provides real-time progress, which can help your freshman stay motivated and avoid mindless overindulging. Choose one of seven colors and match the Fitbit Flex to other fun workout gear. New kicks and a water bottle can also excite your college student about fitness.