Shopping, in general, is an obstacle in itself. But shopping for a college student is an entirely different beast. You spend weeks bookmarking items to purchase for their new dorm or apartment, yet somehow end up forgetting something they need. No amount of pre-check-in reading will prepare you for this experience—trust us. Bed-in-a-bag and instant oatmeal are essential, but we guarantee there are a few other important knick-knacks you left off the Amazon registry
Whether a freshman or super senior, college looks a bit different for students this year—and likely will remain this way for the foreseeable future. To help ease the pain, we compiled a list of classic college goods (bed sheets, desk supplies, etc.) and pandemic essentials (phone sanitizer, masks, etc.) your student will actually use. Ahead, the 42 best gifts to get the student on your list.
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Ring Light Kit
The key to a good TikTok is great lighting.
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Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 Instant Film Camera (Black)
An amazing way to document their college memories to show their future children just how cool they were.
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Purple Nussbaum Velvet Comforter Set
Colder months call for a thicker comforter set. Wayfair has you covered.
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Fluff Yeah Slide
House slipper or running errands shoe? Ugg’s Fluff Yeah is the best of both worlds.
5 of 42
3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips
Basically the Facetune “whiten” feature IRL.
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Turbo Extreme Steam Hand Held Fabric Steamer
This fabric steamer is perfect for the Marie Kondo-obsessive in your life who can’t stand to see a wrinkle anywhere.
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Handheld Percussion Massage Gun
Student-athletes can’t always afford a spa trip. Save them a trip (and money) by gifting this massage gun to soothe every kink and ailment.
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Traveler Canvas Tote
Another viral TikTok find, the iconic Marc Jacobs Tote Bag is the multi-functional piece your wardrobe is missing. Take it to class as a laptop bag, grocery store for a quick re-up, or as a carry-on for your travels.
9 of 42
QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
For the gym junkie who doesn’t want anyone to hear them blasting Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour album in between reps.
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The Large Everywhere Bag by Tia Adeola
A vibrant, head-turning bag only the true star of the town would bring home for the holiday break.
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10.9-inch iPad Air Wi-Fi 64GB – Sky Blue
Everyone who has an iPad is automatically better than everyone else. Sorry, I don’t make the rules.
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The Pixel Buds comfortably rest in your ear while providing a crisp, polished sound.
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Soft Lounge Long Slip Dress
The viral TikTok slip dress that doubles as loungewear or a casual Hinge date getup.
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Char Perfect Pot
You can cook a slew of different meals in this multipurpose pot, which saves you more space than the typical pan set.
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Smells Like T.H.E.M Candle
Febreeze can only do so much. Blk Sunflower’s candles have a throw like no other that quickly fills up a room.
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Vital Seamless 2.0 Leggings
Half the fun of going to the gym is dressing up in a cute Gymshark outfit.
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A star skincare bundle for your star pupil.
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A tote that makes them look like they have their life together, even if they were the life of the party the night before.
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Slides are so yesteryear. Introducing the new “it” shoe of the pandemic: Crocs. They’re comfy, lightweight, and versatile—sport mode or slip-on? You have options.
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Easy Beauty Bundle
Zoom ready in five minutes—no beauty filter needed.
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Deluxe Brush Set
Invest in the budding beauty blogger with a quality makeup brush set that includes every tool they need for a full face beat.
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Air Max 270 Premium Sneaker
Sure, no one will see their fly kicks through Zoom, but that’s what Instagram is for, right?
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Fire TV Stick
How else will they binge-watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel?
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Classic Duvet Cover
Upgrade their typical bed-in-a-bag with a soft, fluffy duvet cover that screams peace and comfort.
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Everything tastes better when it’s air-fried.
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Office Accessories Organizer
A clutter-free space equals a clutter-free mind.
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Apple Watch Series 6
Apple Watch serves many purposes, but the tech brand recently announced the arrival of its newest service: Apple Fitness+. The new program provides users with workout videos on top of the many health services the pint-size gadget offers.
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Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Is it really a shower if you don’t pretend to be headlining your own concert?
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College exams and papers are stressful enough. A beauty subscription service will help to keep those stress-induced pimples at bay.
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Mini Video Projector
Turn their dorm/living room into a mini movie theater—socially distanced, of course.
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Nerisha Penrose Beauty Commerce Editor Nerisha is the beauty commerce editor at ELLE.com, covering all things beauty (and fashion and music).
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