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Best Gifts for the Student in Your Life

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Jessica Black College Coach Finance Consultant

Written by Jessica Blackon December 7th, 2023

My career in higher education administration began at a public state college when I was a work-study student at the financial aid office while pursuing my undergraduate degree. After getting my B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Business Administration, I worked for state government employment services. However, my true calling led me back to my roots in financial aid. As the Assistant Director of Financial Aid at a private liberal arts college in Portland, Oregon, I fostered educational access by overseeing a wide variety of daily operations. These included processing aid applications, establishing cross-departmental partnerships, matching scholars to endowment funding, and meticulously managing multiple funding streams for a diverse student population. Coming from a disadvantaged background as a Vietnamese immigrant and first-generation college graduate, my passion for improving student access to postsecondary educational funding runs deep.
Learn More About Jessica
by Jessica Black, former financial aid officer at Lewis & Clark College Based on insights gathered by Bright Horizons College Coach experts, the following list offers practical and meaningful gift ideas to support and inspire the student in your life this holiday season. We are sure you will find something for all stages of their educational journey! All AgesHigh School Students
  • Private college consulting services. Our experienced college counselors at College Coach draw from previous backgrounds in college admissions and financial aid to provide expert guidance in navigating the complexities of selecting and applying to the best fit colleges and managing financial considerations.
  • Essay reviews. Our experts at College Coach can elevate a student’s standing in the holistic admissions review by offering invaluable essay feedback and writing advice to make an impactful impression on any application.
  • Test prep resources. Study guides, practice tests, and online tutoring from Arbor Bridge and Revolution Prep bolster a student’s confidence and preparedness to tackle the SAT and ACT.
  • Digital platform gift cards. Digital content providers offer access to a wide array of services and content. These gift cards can be used to purchase e-books, learn a new language, track expenses through premium financial literacy apps, and to subscribe to time management tools and numerous other productivity and educational applications.
  • Gym membership. Physical activity is a great way to relieve stress and give students a balance: school works out their brain, so let them have some time to work out their body, too.
Current College Students
  • Gift cards to local restaurants, attractions, and food delivery services provide students with convenient dining options and encourage exploration of life beyond campus.
  • Payment towards student loans/interest is a gift that truly lightens the financial load for college students and recent graduates grappling with debt.
  • Dining hall meal points. College students may find their meal plans insufficient, so adding points to a meal card helps stave off hunger and promotes nutrition needed for active schedules and late-night studying.
  • Residence hall supplies. Storage bins and under-bed organizers keep things tidy in tight spaces. Tech gadgets, such as a compact printer, extra phone chargers, a book light, or a power strip with USB ports, are useful. Noise-cancelling headphones come in handy when studying with a roommate, while a French press or cold brew kit can be delightful, especially for students living off campus.
  • Care packages. Campus Housing departments may offer a catalog of care packages that you can have delivered straight to a student’s residence hall. You could also go the DIY route and curate a package with baked goods, season tickets to athletic events, stress relief kits, or anything else that’s a sweet reminder of home.
  • Self-care luxuries. A professional haircut or massage can relieve stress during midterms and finals.
  • Bookstore credit or gift certificates to places near campus that rent textbooks. In addition to books, students can get school supplies, as well as collegiate clothing and swag from the campus bookstore.
  • Transportation. Depending on how the student gets around, consider gas/fuel cards, a public transit pass, or ride share service gift cards. For those far from home, consider airline gift cards.
  • Professional development services. Supplementing a classroom education with career coaching for résumé writing and interviewing skills may give your student an edge. Some may also benefit from public speaking lessons or from a gift of interview-appropriate clothes or gift cards to stores selling professional attire.
  • Cash. Add an extra layer of security by giving your student cash in hand when arriving to campus for unforeseen circumstances or emergent needs.
Wishing you the best in selecting a gift that will make this holiday season truly special for the students in your life you hold dear. Happy holidays!

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