6 Gifts For High School Grads That They'll Actually Want (And Use)

04/22/2015 04:50 pm ET
Paul Bradbury via Getty Images

Graduation season is rolling around again, and with it, the annual question of what to get for friends or relatives who are heading off to college campuses and beyond. There's nothing wrong with the more traditional gifts of jewelry or cash, but here's a guide to some alternative graduation gift ideas that you might not have thought of:

  1. A Netflix Account
  2. As much as we'd all like to hope that college students are busy studying, the reality is that they can often be found relaxing instead. A monthly subscription will give your grad access to hundreds of TV series, movies and documentaries, which will allow for some vegging time between stressful college courses.


  3. A Large Bowl of Candy
  4. This gift seems awfully simple, but it actually doubles as a both late night snacking material, and a great way to meet friends in the dorm. It'll have people from the hall stopping in for a treat, and sticking around to chat for a little.


  5. Electric Tea Kettle/Brewing Machine
  6. Many students who haven't started drinking coffee before college will start once they arrive. And while college dining rooms often have coffee machines -- not to mention the coffee shops that are often scattered all over campuses -- it's usually easier and more cost-friendly to make coffee or tea right in your own room. An electric tea kettle or other brewing machine for your room will make the transition into freshman year a little easier.


  7. Public Transportation Tickets/Credit for the Local Area
  8. As much as students will love spending time on their new campuses, it's fun to explore surrounding cities and towns as well. Giving students public transportation credit both saves them money and incentivizes exploration of surrounding areas.


  9. Concert Tickets in Their New City/Home
  10. Oftentimes the gift of an experience is just as, if not more, valuable than any physical object. Check out venues near their school, and see if there are any performances around the time they arrive in their new environment. It'll give them an excuse to explore the area, and possibly make some new friends who can go to the concert with them!

    NOTE: Tickets to an event in their high school hometown are great too -- a fun way to celebrate their time left in their hometown with friends!


  11. Small Speaker System
This is a great gift for their dorm room, or to put in their backpack for summer excursions. A small speaker system can connect to your phone or computer so you can play your own music for a bigger group.


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