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Gift ideas for college grads

<&firstgraph><&firstgraph>College students on the cusp of graduation have a lot to look forward to. With their degrees in hand, college graduates can take their first steps in what will hopefully be fulfilling careers.

<&firstgraph><&firstgraph>Many families mark this very special occasion by throwing parties for newly minted graduates. Guests invited to such parties might want to give a gift that illustrates how proud they are of the new grad, and the following are some items that can help grads as they take their first steps into the professional world.

• Attire:<&firstgraph><&firstgraph> It might not seem flashy, but college graduates often need to upgrade their wardrobes as they search for their first jobs. Men and women may not have much in the way of professional attire, so a gift certificate to a local tailor or clothing store can make for a great gift.

• Computer:<&firstgraph><&firstgraph> This gift will likely stretch some gift givers’ budgets, but family members can pitch in and make a new laptop or tablet a group gift. It might be best to avoid desktop computers, as industry insiders note consumers favor mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, over traditional desktop computers. In fact, a recent survey from eMarketer found that adults in the United States spent close to four hours per day on their mobile devices. New grads are more likely to reach for such devices when looking for jobs, so a new smartphone or tablet can make a great gift.

• Briefcase/attache case:<&firstgraph> <&firstgraph>A briefcase or attache case may seem old school, but many working professionals still use them. And they can be especially useful for modern professionals who use laptops that they take to and from the office every day.

• Luggage:<&firstgraph><&firstgraph> According to the Global Business Travel Association, 405 million business trips are taken in the United States each year. Chances are many new grads will join the masses of on-the-go workers, so a new set of durable, high-end luggage can help young professionals prepare for such trips while helping them make a strong impression with their colleagues.

<&firstgraph>College graduates can benefit from being given various items that help them prepare to make their initial forays into the professional arena.

Gift ideas for high school grads

<&firstgraph>High school graduation is a significant milestone in the lives of teenagers. The moment a teenager receives a high school diploma marks the culmination of years of hard work, and many parents and extended family members reward that hard work with gifts.

<&firstgraph>The transition from high school student to college student or working professional is significant, and various items can help make that transition go as smoothly as possible.

<&firstgraph>• Travel gear: Whether it’s utilized during road trips with roommates or on those handful of occasions when students come home on holiday breaks, travel gear can make for a useful gift for new high school graduates. A sturdy backpack/duffel bag combo can be ideal. It’s great for college students who might not be ready for more expensive luggage, and it can be ideal for high school students taking gap years to do some overseas traveling before enrolling in college.

<&firstgraph>• Coffee machine: A pot of fresh coffee can make late-night cram sessions or hours spent typing research papers into the wee hours of the morning more manageable. For students who will be living in crowded dorm rooms, opt for small coffee machines that don’t take up much space, such as those that are traditionally found inside hotel rooms.

<&firstgraph>• Television: Parents want to imagine their college-bound teenagers spending hours holed up in the library. But college kids watch plenty of television, too, so a new television can make for a great gift that figures to get ample use.

<&firstgraph>• Academic planner: College course loads tend to be considerably more demanding than high school coursework. An academic planner can help new college students manage the rigors of their coursework by encouraging them to plan their days and weeks, ensuring no classes are missed and no assignments go unfinished.

<&firstgraph>• Cash: Cash can make a great gift whether a grad is heading off to college or entering the workforce. Cash can help college students pay for their books and help those entering the workforce purchase a reliable car that will help them get around.

<&firstgraph>Gifts for newly minted high school graduates can help them transition to the next phase of their lives, whether that will begin on a college campus or in the workforce.