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12 Graduation Gift Ideas for the Class of 2012

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Graduation is a great accomplishment. College-bound high school seniors are getting ready to begin some of the best years of their lives and college grads are (hopefully!) preparing to start their careers.

Wrapping up four or more years of classes, homework, studying and exams to finally earn that diploma or degree is a huge milestone. A copy of the Dr. Seuss classic Oh, the Places You’ll Go! can bring a smile to anyone’s face, but reward the grads in your life with a thoughtful yet practical gift that will be used and appreciated.

Here are a few popular graduation gift ideas to help you out:

1. Diploma / Degree Frame

Let your grad display their shiny new diploma and help protect it from damage with a classy matted frame. Many online retailers and college bookstores even offer frames that include places to display photographs or graduation cap tassels beside the document.

2. Laptop or Tablet

Most young adults love technology and gadgets, which is why both laptops and tablets make great graduation gifts. A new laptop or tablet can come in handy with homework, work, email, entertainment and more.

3. Portfolio

A Trapper Keeper just won’t cut it for carrying a resume to job interviews. A sleek leather portfolio will help a recent college graduate look professional while job hunting, but high school grads can also use them to stay organized for their new college classes.

4. Webcam

A webcam is a good graduation present for anyone who does not have a built-in camera on their computer. If someone is going away to college or moving out to start their first real job, a webcam is a great way to keep in touch with friends and family. If a high school grad will be living at home during college, they can video chat with friends who are moving out of town.

5. Personalized Gift Basket

Personalized gifts are often the most loved! You can make the special grad in your life a care package comprised of favorites like foods, books, movies and other trinkets. Alternatively, a basket full of necessities like toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner and shower gel will help stock their linen closet and save them money.

6. Scrapbook / Photo Album

Make a scrapbook or fill a photo album with pictures. It will give a young adult something to flip through when they are feeling homesick or lonely. The memories will bring a smile to their face for years to come.

7. Gift Cards

Everyone loves gift cards … don’t you? Gift cards for supercenters like Wal-Mart and Target will allow the recipient to purchase nearly anything they need. Gift cards for clothing stores will allow them to pick out a dressy outfit appropriate for job interviews. Many stores even allow gift cards to be redeemed online.

8. Dorm / Apartment Necessities

Moving out for the first time can be expensive. Gift your grad with a dorm or apartment necessity like a mini fridge, coffee maker, microwave, television or any other item they will need out on their own.

9. Cell Phone

A pre-paid cell phone (or agreeing to pay for cell phone service for a certain amount of time) is a valuable gift for graduates. Just make sure they agree to call you once or twice a week!

10. Camera

Pocket-sized digital cameras have become very affordable over the past few years. Smart phones and even basic cell phones have built-in cameras, but a traditional camera will also come in handy.

11. Calendar

A planner will allow your grad to keep track of classes, assignments, work and more. Jot down a few weekend visits to make sure you stay in touch—be sure to follow through!

12. School Spirit Gear

If your high school graduate is heading off to college this fall, a T-shirt or sweatshirt bearing the school’s name is sure to be a hit. If you live in the area, visit the campus bookstore for a wide selection. Otherwise, order online and watch your student smile when they open the package.

These are just a few of the many college graduation gifts and high school graduation gifts that the class of 2012 will appreciate. Share your ideas below!


Melissa Rhone+

Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.

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