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Creative Graduation Gifts for Your Graduate

Graduates hold up their mortar boards and diplomas in celebration

It’s that time of year again – students of all ages are celebrating their graduation, whether it be from high school, college, or a post-graduate education. Graduation season looks very different this year due to the unprecedented effects of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Traditional graduation rites of passage may have been suspended, delayed, or cancelled altogether over the last month. So, what to do about graduation gifts?

As official ceremonies and graduation parties are pushed back toward late summer (or canceled), this means you still have time to plan a thoughtful graduation gift. Especially as new freshmen prepare to enter college for the first time, it’s an optimal time for gift-giving.

If there’s one thing on graduates’ minds, especially right now, it’s finances. For this reason, traditional grad gifts like cash, checks, and gift cards are always a good idea – especially as gift cards can help support local businesses while they suffer from the pandemic economy.

However, if you’re looking for something a little more creative, check out these ideas below:

An Amazon Prime membership

An Amazon Prime membership can serve multiple purposes for your recent grad. If they’re headed off to college, Amazon Prime can provide free shipping on textbooks and school supplies as well as cheaper prices for both. If your graduate is moving cities or residences, a membership can provide the cheap, expedient, and easy acquisition of food, supplies, furniture, and more.

At-home Workout Gear

Home workouts have been increasingly prevalent as stay-at-home orders have fluctuated over the months. With the unique gift of an at-home workout kit, you can help your graduate save on pricey gym memberships and stay active and healthy in their college dorm room or apartment. Options can include resistance and weighted arm brands, a weighted jump-rope, a yoga mat, a balance ball, or dumbbells.

Voice-controlled Assistants

The life of a new college student or a recent college grad can be hectic. Voice-controlled assistants, such as an Amazon Echo Dot or Google Home, can help them set task reminders for a busy school or work schedule.

A Monthly TV Subscription

If there’s anything young adults can commonly agree on, it’s a passion for television. And in today’s world, it’s almost mandatory to have some kind of streaming service to watch it. Monthly subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, DisneyPlus, HBO, and Apple Play are all popular options, as well as non-televisual streaming services, such as Spotify or Tidal.

Books, Books, Books

Although it may be considered old-fashioned by some, a book as a graduation gift can be a very thoughtful way to go. Goodreads can be a great resource to find top picks and recommendations. A Kindle or Nook may be another gift idea if your new college student or recent college grad already has an excess of physical books.


Whether it’s to commute to class or work, study in the library, or enjoy some downtime away from roommates, headphones are a student essential. Lots of wireless options are currently in vogue, such as Apple AirPods and Beats.

What About Finances?

With your graduate either entering college or leaving it – and with the tumultuous state of the economy – it’s perfectly typical to be concerned about finances. Students and post-graduates may find themselves getting “the budget talk” with increasing regularity, whether they’re starting their college career or starting a new career, period.

Fortunately, Academy Bank offers a couple options to help students start their journey to financial independence.

Student Savings Account

Geared toward young adults under age 23, Academy Bank’s Student Savings account offers an easy and inexpensive way for students to learn good financial habits.

The account offers no monthly service fee and a free ATM card, plus it is a source for overdraft protection and is eligible for Saving Cents – a program that automatically rounds up your change to the nearest dollar and deposits it in your savings, then tracks what you’ve saved in your monthly statements.

(Ages 17 or younger must have a parent or guardian as a joint owner on the account.)

Credit Builder

A secured credit card can be an incredibly valuable product for someone new to building credit because the spending limit is capped at a specific amount.

Academy Bank’s Credit Builder is a great way for students to get started on their credit journey, as it has a low minimum opening balance ($300) and provides users 100 percent credit for every dollar on deposit (subject to credit approval).

You can read more about the perks of Credit Builder, in the words of some of our banking experts, here.

Celebrating Your Grad with Right Graduation Gift

All told, you can’t go wrong with any graduation gift for your new graduate, whether it’s traditional cold-hard cash or one of the other creative options listed above. Most importantly, we hope your grad stays safe – in both their health and their savings.

Congratulations to 2020 graduates!

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