Top 5 gifts for grads

Metro passes and maps for cities where graduates are moving make for excellent graduation gifts.

Hanna Johansen

Many ISU students will reach another key milestone in life next month: Graduation. Parents and friends may be wondering what to get a 21st-century graduate that won’t leave them with empty pockets. Here are a few ideas that will push graduates in the right direction and help them achieve even more of their goals without exceeding your budget.

5. Pearls & ties

Sorry seniors; time to tuck away your faded ISU apparel and put on some slacks and a tie. College grads are going to need some new clothes to fit their new lifestyles. This option can fit every budget and ranges from ties and pearls to suits and pencil skirts. Be sure to get a gift receipt just in case the freshman fifteen stuck around longer than planned.

4. Travel accessories

Many grads are going to use this transition period to backpack across Europe or visit friends they met while studying abroad. Others will need travel accessories to move across the US to their new jobs. If the graduate you are shopping for has plans to travel, a guidebook to the location they plan to travel to, a gift certificate to a travel accessory or backing store or a new piece of luggage can all be practical choices.

3. Things to use in their new city

Is the grad you are buying for is heading to a new city for a job they landed or grad school? Buying a bus pass or subway tokens is a very sensible, useful gift. Gas cards and city maps are also great options that can be very inexpensive.

2. Financial planning help

Many college graduates are clueless on how to manage their money. A great gift to help any graduate is a subscription to a financial planning magazine such as Kiplinger or Green Sherpa. These magazines give beginner-friendly money management tips.

1. Creative cash

Nice pens and watches are wonderful gifts, but after four-plus years of college tuition and minimum-wage jobs, chances are most graduates’ bank accounts are as vacant as the looks in their eyes the last few days of class. Cash may seem boring for the gift giver, so try presenting it in a creative way! Some ideas include hand decorating a piggy bank, tucking some crisp tens in a business card case, or tucking a check into an insightful novel as a temporary bookmark.