After 25 hours of research evaluating 200 products, we picked A Signed Copy of “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” as our top choice.
After 12 or 13 long years in school, your graduate is finally headed toward the finish line for the ultimate prize: a high school diploma.
You receive a certificate of completion at the graduation ceremony whether you skipped half the grades in elementary school or were held back a time or two. Unfortunately, more than 1.2 million kids drop out of high school each year.
It’s a major accomplishment when a student earns a diploma, so we're happy that you’re searching for the perfect graduation gift to honor this amazing achievement.
Here's the deal:
After weeks of research and conversations with recent graduates, we’ve compiled a detailed list of the best gifts for high school graduates. We’ve got fun electronics, sentimental treasures, and practical must-haves.
Whether you’re shopping for a straight-A student headed to an Ivy League school, a military-bound guy or gal, or a future cosmetologist, you’re sure to find something below that’s a hit with your favorite high school graduate!
Looking for gifts for a college graduate instead? We’ve got plenty of those, too in our gift guide for college graduates. We’ve also got an entire category dedicated to household items that your college grad probably needs.
Comfortable ties made from luxurious Italian microfiber. Includes two traditional tie bars for a polished look.
We can’t think of any major flaws. Your recipient gets several designer ties at a price that won’t destroy your bank account - everybody wins.
Why Your Grad’s Gonna Love It: Your graduate hasn’t reached the age where people give him ties for every holiday, so he actually needs a few. Now that he’s a high school graduate, he’s probably got job interviews to rock, weddings to attend, and significant others to impress. These high-end ties make him look all fancy-schmancy without projecting an “I’m a soccer dad” vibe.
Each handmade tie is antimicrobial and moisture wicking, so he doesn’t have to worry about arriving for important functions soaked in sweat. The classic patterns project a polished vibe suitable for semi-formal occasions.
Price: We’ve seen this tie set priced anywhere from $55 to $85 dollars. The price includes 5 ties and 2 clips nestled gently in a designer box.
Encouraging message fills your grad with confidence and reminds her of special achievements. Hypoallergenic bangle suitable for sensitive skin.
We found very few complaints about this stunning bracelet. Though, one reviewer gripes that the bracelet tugged at her arm hair.
Why Your Grad’s Gonna Love It: Emphasize the accomplishments of your favorite graduate with this gorgeous rose gold bracelet. ‘She believed she could so she did’ adorns the front of the bracelet, reminding your grad that she can do anything as long as she believes in herself. The expandable wire fits comfortably on a variety of wrist sizes, and a twinkling stone lends a delicate sparkle to this pretty piece.
Got a grad who despises rose gold? This inspirational bracelet also comes in white gold and yellow gold.
Price: We’ve seen similar bracelets for hundreds of bucks, so this $40 bracelet is a steal.
Primarily made from natural ingredients. Gets the job done without leaving behind a strong chemical odor.
The spray leaves a film on some surfaces.
Why Your Grad’s Gonna Love It: Your gift recipient may experience delayed gratitude when it comes to this set of Mrs. Meyer’s cleaning supplies. Sure, dish soap and all-purpose spray don’t seem too exciting at first, but wait until the apartment is covered in pizza sauce, soda rings, and soap scum. An included bottle of hand soap helps promote good hygiene after bathroom breaks.
The delightful lemon verbena scent of these naturally derived cleaning products will leave your grad’s new home smelling fresh and clean. It also helps mask the odor of pets - or smelly roommates.
Price: It’s around $12 for a 3-piece set of cleaning supplies, which is about what you’d pay at Target or Walmart.
Holds a full load of laundry with a weight of up to 40 liters. Made from BPA-free plastic.
Several users say it’s difficult to fold this collapsible laundry basket. One reviewer, who originally struggled to make the basket collapse, advises that all you have to do is press on all 4 sides.
Why Your Grad’s Gonna Love It: Trips to the laundromat just got a lot easier - and cooler. This modern laundry basket features bold colors, ergonomic handles, and BPA-free plastic. Unlike most laundry baskets, it doesn’t have a bunch of small holes that snag clothes or capture socks. It collapses to save space, so it’s perfect for a dorm room or a small apartment.
Make this gift extra special by filling the basket with quarters, detergent, fabric softener, and other laundry essentials. If your gift recipient has never done their own laundry, you may also want to include a list of basic tips like “Don’t wash whites with reds unless you want everything you own to be pink.”
Price: This basket is on sale for $34.99, but we’ve seen it as high as $60. Yeah, you can easily buy a cheap laundry basket at the dollar store, but you get what you pay for.
An engaging mix of fun and serious content. Encourages students to make smart choices in college.
Some readers are annoyed that the book contains multiple religious references. Depending on your beliefs, this may be a pro rather than a con.
Why Your Grad’s Gonna Love It: Prepare a college-bound student for the best and worst of campus living with this handy survival guide. It covers a wide array of topics, including unexpected issues that may crop up with rude roommates or significant others. Lighthearted concerns, such as procrastination, are addressed, but this guide also tackles serious concerns like sexual assault and mental illness. The book was written by a spiritual author with a religious background, but one reviewer assures purchasers that it’s not preachy.
Price: Expect to spend around $13 for this informative guide.
Swiss Safe is a small business rather than a large corporation, and many reviewers appreciate this fact. FDA-approved kit is protected by a money-back guarantee.
It was hard for us to find any issues with this highly rated kit. One reviewer says she is frustrated by the number of small bandages in the kit - she thinks there are too many.
Why Your Grad’s Gonna Love It: Back home, your grad probably had a medicine cabinet filled with the essentials. Now that she’s on her own, she needs her own collection of bandages and alcohol pads. This kit includes 152 pieces ranging from basics like gauze and scissors to innovative additions like a glow stick and compass. It’s small size makes it perfect for dorm rooms, car trunks, or backpacks, and a convenient carrying handle makes transportation a breeze.
Price: This deluxe first aid kit generally costs around $25 to $35. You’d spend more than that buying packages of each product separately, so this is a great deal.
BPA-free surface is resilient yet attractive. Fun, modern design takes up very little space.
Sometimes the machine smells like burned plastic if it gets too hot. If this happens, turn off the appliance and contact the manufacturer.
Why Your Grad’s Gonna Love It: The average person consumes 43 quarts of popcorn per year, so odds are high that your graduate likes this popular snack. A microwave takes up lots of space in a cramped dorm room, so this small appliance lets your student fulfill popcorn cravings without traveling to the dining hall. The machine doesn’t require oil, so it makes less of a mess than other popcorn makers we’ve seen.
Don’t forget to include some kernels and seasoning so your snack-loving graduate doesn’t have to make a trip to the supermarket.
Price: This popcorn maker will set you back anywhere from $28 to $55, which is basically the same price as other popcorn makers.
Works for flights at nearly 100 locations. No fees.
It’s only good for airfare. This is somewhat self-explanatory, but we’ve seen a couple reviewers who were upset about the fact that you can’t use it for anything else.
Why Your Grad’s Gonna Love It: Each year, more than 100,000 men and women join the military fresh out of high school. Many of these kids have never left their parents’ homes for long periods of time, let alone traveled across the country. If your favorite grad becomes homesick, this gift card makes it easy for them to visit loved ones.
It doesn’t expire, so your recipient can hold onto it if he or she gets called for active duty or finds it difficult to sneak away from training.
Price: We’re featuring the $200 airline gift card because we figure it might be enough for your military trainee to head home for a visit. If not, you can buy additional cards in different denominations.
Redeemable online or via the Hotels.com smartphone app. You can earn points toward free room rentals when you pay with this gift card.
Not eligible for certain promotions or special offers.
Why Your Grad’s Gonna Love It: After spending approximately 2/3 of his or her life in school, your high school graduate is probably ready for a well-deserved vacation. This Hotels.com gift card is redeemable at more than 150,000 hotels across the globe, so he or she can use it nearly anywhere. This is also an excellent gift for a military-bound graduate who wants to return for regular visits without sacrificing their independence (in other words, they don’t want to stay in their childhood home).
The best part? There’s no expiration date, so your graduate can travel whenever they're ready to explore the world.
Price: At $500, this is easily one of the most expensive gifts on our list. You can purchase smaller denominations, but we chose this amount because it gives your traveling graduate more than just a day or two of vacation time.
Helps your grad prepare for school or work by setting alarms, sharing weather forecasts, and arranging transportation. Also plays music and turns compatible lights and other devices off and on.
Requires app downloads for some features. Sound quality could be better.
Why Your Grad’s Gonna Love It: A lack of punctuality may not have impacted your grad’s life much in high school, but tardiness generally has major repercussions in adult life. The Echo Dot helps your grad prepare for just about anything, whether he needs to schedule an Uber ride to get to an important job interview or set multiple alarms to ensure he doesn’t miss his final exams. It’s a small device, so a roommate won’t gripe that it’s taking up too much space in a cramped dorm or apartment.
Oh, and the Echo Dot also orders pizza, checks credit card balances, and delivers flowers. It’s like having a personal assistant minus the human interaction.
Price: The Echo Dot costs around $50, which is way cheaper than the Amazon Echo and Echo Show.
Concise, info-packed chapters appeal to readers with hectic schedules. Teaches important life skills that most kids don’t learn in school.
There are very few complaints about this helpful book. However, one graduate says he wishes the book had more details on taxes.
Why Your Grad’s Gonna Love It: This real-world handbook answers questions your graduate didn’t even realize they had - and maybe a few that they were too embarrassed to ask. It covers budgeting, apartment hunting, job interviews, household chores, and numerous other things your grad needs to know to master the confusing art of adulting. This is a compact yet detailed guide your recipient will refer to again and again as life progresses.
Price: On a tight budget? This book costs less than $10, and that price includes 2-day shipping for Prime members.
Rated one of the best laptops for college students by PCMag. Innovative touchscreen lets students scroll quickly through coursework without constantly clicking a mouse.
Some owners complain that the trackpad has a mind of its own. Luckily, Amazon accepts returns within 30 days, and ASUS also offers a warranty.
Why Your Grad’s Gonna Love It: Can you imagine writing a 10-page essay on your iPhone or Android? Yeah, it’s possible - but it’ll take forever. Help your college-bound graduate free up time for studying, military duties, or a part-time job by surprising them with this ASUS Chromebook Flip. The screen rotates for easy viewing, and the touchscreen makes it a cinch to navigate through lengthy PDFs or digital textbooks.
We don’t want to get all techy on you and throw out a bunch of confusing specs, so let’s just say this computer loads data in a jiffy thanks to powerful Intel processors. It’s got plenty of memory, so your grad can store photographs, videos, and homework assignments with no issues. The screen displays crisp, clear images and is HD friendly.
Price: At around $500, the Chromebook Flip is hardly a cheap gift for a high school graduate. However, it’s a reliable computer that will help your grad rock college coursework and prepare for a long-term career.
No refrigeration required. Small bags fit easily into a purse or backpack for on-the-go snacking.
One reviewer gripes that the snacks are childish and best suited for young kids. We respectfully disagree, but maybe it’s weird that we’re grownups who still love popcorn and fig bars?
Why Your Grad’s Gonna Love It: If your grad is a picky eater, he or she probably won’t enjoy most of the selections in the dining hall. This snack box has something for every palate, whether your college student wants salty popcorn or honey-sweetened Bunny Grahams. Many of the snacks are gluten free and non GMO, and some of them are low carb.
One reviewer says that sharing the goodies from this box makes it easy to connect with new friends, which makes total sense. After all, what college kid doesn’t like free snacks? If the box is a hit with your grad, you can subscribe at a discounted rate and have it delivered once a month.
Price: It’s around $40 for this box of healthy snacks, but you can get it cheaper if you commit to a monthly subscription.
Lightweight plastic tree is easy to transport to a graduation party or other special event. Quick, easy assembly.
Multiple reviewers criticize the flimsy design of this plastic money tree, but most agree that it serves its purpose.
Why Your Grad’s Gonna Love It: Have you ever met a graduate who didn’t appreciate cash gifts? Yeah, neither have we.
You can load the branches of this money tree with cash, gift cards, or checks from your own savings or from the generous contributions of multiple gift givers. To attach money, purchasers recommend folding each bill into a fan shape and securing it with a ribbon. We recommend using ribbons with your graduate’s school colors or the college he plans to attend.
Consider pairing this plastic money tree with the Dave Ramsey book listed in this graduation gift guide. It may help your graduate make smart choices with his stack of bills.
Price: This tree is currently around $7 on Amazon, which is awesome because it frees up your budget for a hefty financial gift.
Money management is a skill many folks struggle to master, but this book simplifies the process. Actionable steps effectively help your graduate create a budget, tackle debt, and plan for the future.
Some reviewers complain that the book contains too many religious references.
Why Your Grad’s Gonna Love It: YouTube sensation BoyInABand laments that school doesn’t teach basic life skills, rapping that he “don’t know squat about trading stocks...Or how money works at all - where does it come from?” Many high school grads can relate, which is why Dave Ramsey’s book makes such an excellent gift for someone entering the workforce. It teaches graduates - and adults of all ages - how to budget their earnings and avoid getting sucked into the debt trap.
Price: For around $10 or $11, you can help your favorite grad take steps toward financial security. That’s a life-long gift if you ask us (okay, you didn’t...but we love to share our thoughts).
The company advertises this compass as a novelty gift, but several gift givers happily state that the directions on this affordable compass are actually accurate. The engraved quote is relevant for high school graduates, but it also applies to changes that occur later in life.
One reviewer is frustrated that the words on the compass are too close to each other. That’s one of the only complaints we found about this highly rated compass.
Why Your Grad’s Gonna Love It: One scientific study claims that guys are better at finding specific destinations than women. Despite the fact that guys allegedly know how to find locations easily, we know very few dudes who don’t own a compass. Guys generally like practical gifts, and your son will get plenty of use out of his compass during fishing, floating, and/or camping trips with his buddies.
We chose this compass over competitors because it’s highly rated, plus it’s adorned with an inspirational quote. We dig that it was constructed using 100% renewable energy, and it comes with a soft velveteen pouch for convenient storage. It’s the kind of gift your son can pass to future generations - like his own son - one day.
Price: After shipping, this pewter compass costs around $25.
Sweet words help a graduating daughter bond with Mom or Dad. The soft watercolors used for the graphic don’t overpower the poem’s sentimental text.
Some purchasers are upset that this heartfelt poem didn’t include a frame. Make sure you choose the correct frame size to avoid covering the text or illustration.
Why Your Grad’s Gonna Love It: Even if she hasn’t told you this yet, she’s going to miss you. The transition from high school to college is a major one, but she’ll always be your little girl - at least in your heart. However, this beautiful poem reminds her that you’re ready to give her the freedom she deserves and let her flourish into a confident, capable adult. You’ll never stop loving her, though - and she’ll remember that every time she sees this poem displayed on her wall or desk.
Price: This double-matted poem costs around $12, and you’ll also have to pay a few bucks for shipping. It arrives fairly quickly, so you still have plenty of time to order it if graduation is rapidly approaching.
Amazon offers free assembly at participating bike shops, so your student doesn’t have to figure out how to put the bike together. Suitable for a variety of terrain types.
Costs significantly more than a Huffy or whatever your local Walmart and Target has to offer, but it’s totally worth the price. A few owners complain the wheels are wobbly or out of alignment, but professional assembly (which is free) may help prevent these issues.
Why Your Grad’s Gonna Love It: Let’s be honest: Unless they already own one or they’re super into green living, your high school graduate was probably hoping for a car. However, a bike is wayyyyy cheaper (for both of you) - and more practical, too. Your gift recipient can zoom across campus without battling a long line of sleep-deprived students for a parking spot, and there’s no need to stash some cash in savings for oil changes, engine repairs, or other costly expenses.
This Tommaso Imola Compact Aluminum Road Bike bike rocks because it’s versatile. Your grad can cruise around campus or take it on a hilly road. It has top-notch Shimano Claris STI shifters that help prevent a bumpy ride during terrain switches, and numerous reviewers rave that it’s easy to handle this bike - even if you’re a new cyclist.
Make sure you include a durable lock so this dependable bike doesn’t mysteriously disappear one day. You may also want to include a bike maintenance kit or a gift card to a local bike shop in case an issue arises.
Price: Expect to spend between $550 and $600 for this Imola bike unless you get it on sale. We’ve seen bikes with similar features that cost $1,000 to $2,000, so we think this price is super reasonable.
Helps repel fungus and other pathogens commonly found in shared spaces. Fun, modern design.
Some reviewers complain that the cutouts, which release water and make it easier to walk across wet surfaces, hurt their feet.
Why Your Grad’s Gonna Love It: Your favorite germophobe isn’t just paranoid when it comes to the hazards of dorm life. Bathrooms, especially the shared ones on campus, are gross. Students are exposed to germs that cause all sorts of lovely issues, including athlete’s foot and intestinal distress. We won’t even talk about the bacteria that’s potentially lurking in - and around - the college’s pool.
That’s why your grad needs these antimicrobial flip flops from Showaflops. He or she can stride across a damp floor without worrying about pathogens affixing themselves to their feet, and they’re comfortable enough to keep on during a shower or a dip in the hot tub. The fashionable design will let your grad embrace - rather than sacrifice - their unique sense of style.
Looking for guys’ antimicrobial flip flops? Showaflops offers those as well.
Price: One reviewer summed up our thoughts perfectly when she explained that while there are tons of cheap flip flops available for around $2, it’s totally worth it to shell out an extra $20 or so for this long-lasting, antimicrobial footwear.
Versatile gift that’s suitable for graduates headed to college, tech school, the military, or the workforce. Reminds readers that they can accomplish important things and lead happy, well-rounded lives.
We can’t think of any real cons. Who doesn’t love Dr. Seuss?!
Why Your Grad’s Gonna Love It: Very few books appeal to readers of all ages, but “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” somehow manages to achieve this feat. Vibrant illustrations and engaging prose make this book a fun, easy read for graduates. Pass the book around during the graduation party so that loved ones can jot down memories, tips, or warm wishes for the graduate.
It’s probably a little late to do this if you’re shopping for graduation gifts now, but some recipients say their parents had teachers from preschool to high school share encouraging messages in the book. If you can track down your child’s former teachers, then we recommend trying this heartwarming idea.
Is someone else already buying this book for your grad? Here’s a fashionable stainless steel bracelet inspired by the popular book.
Price: A hardcover copy of this bestselling book costs around $12 when it’s on sale. Expect to spend a couple hundred bucks if you want a special edition of this beloved book.