The holidays are upon us, and as you’re going over the shopping you have to do, you might pause at the university student on your list. A son, a daughter, a grandchild, a nephew or a niece — not long ago, they were asking for toys and clothing, but now you’re at a loss. University students can be hard to shop for, mostly because you don’t want to overload them with junk that they have to cram into their small dorm or flat. With any of these five gifts, though, you can’t go wrong.
1. A Printer
In the digital age, it’s easy to forget that a university student needs to print documents, but your university student is probably in need of a printer if they don’t have one already. Even if he or she does, newer printer models are smaller and more efficient. Plus, these will take up less space in a crowded flat or room. A printer, perhaps even a combination scanner-printer, can be used for tasks such as:
· Printing out essays.
· Editing essays; some students and professors prefer to make edits on paper, so they’re not staring at the glare of a computer screen for long periods of time.
· Printing out coupons to save money when shopping on a budget.
· Scanning projects, such as art projects, to turn them in via email.
· Printing out job applications.
· Printing out business cards.
What if, though, your university student doesn’t have a desktop or laptop computer; instead, they live off of their tablets or smartphones? You can print from tablets and smartphones, too, just as easily as you print from a bulkier computer. At some point, a university student will need to print a document, even if they don’t have a traditional computer. Don’t make them run down to the library and compete with other students for printers. A printer in their room or flat will be more useful.
2. Formal Wear
With job interviews, thesis presentations and a career on the horizon, your university student will need to look his or her best. Presenting him or her with a business suit or other clothing that could be used for formal wear — a blouse, a tie, dress shoes — is a practical gift that the university student will put to good use.
Maybe you don’t know what size your student wears or you want to let him or her pick out the formal wear. Send a gift card for a formal-wear store or a department store and let your student know the intention is for he or she to add formalwear to their wardrobe.
3. Care Package
If your university student can’t get home as often as he’d like, send a little piece of home to him. Bake your student’s favourite foods from home and send them overnight, but make sure they’re foods that won’t spoil, such as cookies and cakes, and wrap them well. If you’re leery of sending food, you can go for non-edible reminders of home, such as handmade scarves or a scrapbook. Try to send a reminder of your home holiday tradition.
4. Public Transit Cards
Unless your university student drives his own car, he’s likely using the bus or underground to get from campus to errands and then back again. Purchase public transit cards, like London’s Oyster card, as a gift and you free up room in his budget for other necessities or treats. This is an especially helpful gift for those starting their career search; they’ll frequently be headed into the city for job interviews.
If all your other ideas fail, you can’t go wrong with a monetary gift. Money can go a long way toward rent, a meal plan, textbooks or the latest gadget need for studies. A university student can also take the money and spend it on something special for himself, something you might not have been able to pick out without knowing his tastes. Place the gift in a holiday card, and it will be one of the most appreciated this year.
About the Author: Sean Bostick is a contributing writer and professional personal shopper. Having to shop for dozens of university students through the years, he uses sites like Cartridge Discount UK when it comes to more technological purchases.