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    Thoughtful High School Graduation Gifts

    By Melissa Green | Citizens Bank Staff

    Whether it’s your own child, a family member, or a friend, graduating from high school is an important milestone. You’ll want to send them into the next phase of their life confident and well prepared. So why not use a graduation present as an opportunity to help set them up for success?

    Take a look at these thoughtful high school graduation gift ideas for every budget. 

    Bank account

    If your graduate doesn’t already have a checking account, now is the perfect time to get them set up. Your graduate will likely get money from friends and family members; with Zelle® they can send and receive money safely.1 In addition to the bank account, helping them with budgeting and money management will be the gift that keeps on giving.

    “Open when…” letters and gifts

    If your student is moving into a dorm or an apartment, they might have a few homesick moments. Create a series of letters or small gifts for your grad to open when they’re sad, stressed, excited, lonely, and everything in between. Anything goes here, but ideas include:

    • Fill a tiny box with confetti and label it “Open when you want to celebrate!”
    • Write an encouraging note and label it “Open when you’re feeling down”
    • Put a few dollars in an envelope and label it “Open when you desperately need pizza”
    • Fill a notebook with inside jokes and funny sayings and label it “Open when you need a laugh”

    Travel gear

    As your graduate moves into their next phase of life, they’ll need something to carry all their stuff — literally. Consider gifting a luggage set or, if your budget is more conservative, think about a nice carry-on bag. Luggage tags, passport holders, and portable chargers are all great, practical gifts.

    Pro tip: If you are gifting your graduate a trip consider hiding the tickets inside the suitcase for a fun surprise.

    Books that inspire

    If your student is an avid reader, consider gifting them a book that will help them on their journey. Think about stories that inspire, are comforting, or will make them laugh. If they’re not the reading-for-pleasure type, consider purchasing one of their textbooks if they’re college bound.


    Depending on your graduate’s next steps, they’ll likely need some upgraded technology. Consider a new laptop or smartphone so they’re able to keep up with coursework or stay in touch with friends and family. For smaller gifts, think about Bluetooth headphones or trackers if you have an absent minded student.

    What to remember

    Embarking on new and great adventures is part of growing up and becoming acquainted with the outside world after high school. Rather than giving a traditional gift card or cash, consider thoughtful high school graduation gifts that are sure to remain a source of comfort as your graduate ventures out independently for the first time.

    More information

    Want to quickly and easily transfer money to your graduate? You can enroll with Zelle when you download the Citizens Bank mobile app and sign your student up for online banking.

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