7 Gifts Ideas for Graduate Students

So your favorite twentysomething is heading off to grad school. Here's a gift guide with possibilities in every price range, from quirky books to more significant ticket items, plus presents specifically for med students, nurses-to-be, future lawyers and prospective MBAs.

  • 01 of 07

    Laptop Sleeves

    BookBook Laptop Sleeve

    Twelve South

    Whether your favorite twentysomething is heading for another year of college or he's off to grad school, his laptop will need protection. There's a slew of possibilities out there ranging from solid color Neoprene padded sleeves to versions that look like a Van Gogh, an interoffice envelope or an old leather-bound book. The latter dubbed the BookBook, is made by Twelve South and it seems so authentic, even the zipper tabs resemble bookmarks. Still, it's best not to leave even a disguised laptop unattended at the library. It might get stolen. Or reshelved. Prices? $20-$80.

  • 02 of 07

    French Press Coffee Maker

    French Press


    Coffee and grad school go together as naturally as exams and exhaustion. So give that new grad student a nice coffee press and an insulated travel mug, plus a pound or two of great coffee. Or pair the travel mug with a well-loaded gift card for Starbucks, Peet's or any coffeehouse near campus. Price? $17-$30 for the coffee press, $8-10 a pound for the coffee. INeedCoffee.com has an excellent FAQ for proper use, cleaning, and common concerns.

  • 03 of 07

    TLC for the Shoulders

    iStock Photo

    Hard-working grad students get neck and shoulder aches. It comes with the territory - all that hunched-over studying. So consider a gift certificate for a shoulder massage at a nearby spa, or a lavender-filled neck roll, which can be microwaved to soothing warmness, then wrapped around aching muscles. Price? $27-$30 for an aromatherapy neck roll, $50-$150 for a spa gift certificate.

  • 04 of 07

    Crinkly Green Bills

    Dollar Bill

    David Siqueira/Stock.Xchng Photos

    Fancy pens are nice and leather attache cases splendid, but after four or more years of undergraduate work, chances are your 20something has empty pockets. So cash is the most welcome gift of all. Money may not be an exciting thing to present, but there are some genius ways to package it, including rolling a check inside a prescription bottle, filling a personalized piggy bank or tying it with a graduation-style tassel. You'll find a few ideas here.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Surviving Your Stupid, Stupid Decision to Go to Grad School

    Grad School Book

    Broadway Books

    This tongue-in-cheek advice book by Adam Ruben is light on the actual, practical advice — although giving your dissertation advisor brownies is always a good idea — and heavy on the humor. The result is an enjoyable, entertaining read, and a light-hearted gift choice for the new college grad headed for grad school — Tuck in a few twenties as a bookmark.

  • 06 of 07

    For Nursing Students

    First Year Nurse

    Kaplan Publishing

    Got a new nursing student or nurse in your family? That new RN or RN-to-be will love everything on this list, from the career advice books and medical thrillers to scrubs, socks, a retro 1950s series, and smart gift cards. Hello, Cherry Ames! And hello 21st-century version too.

  • 07 of 07

    For a Future Dentist

    Death of a Dentist
    Grand Central Publishing

    Dental students aren't exactly known for their leisure time, and recreational opportunities, but these ideas offer a little something for everyone, from laptop bags and gift cards to bacon-flavored floss and dentistry-related books (pictured).