Ah, college. I miss almost everything about it...except being broke. That part was less enjoyable, but one thing that got me through was gift cards. My mom always threw a bunch of them in my stocking for Christmas and that helped tremendously through the ensuing months of having no money. There’s a gift card for almost everything these days, and most can be found on Amazon (making being considerate even more convenient!) so scroll down and bless some of the college kids in your life. These are without a doubt the best gift cards for college students.
The 35 Best Gift Cards for College Students
What can’t you get from Amazon? Let your recipient decide what they need, from a NutriBullet to a couch to a projector screen for their dorm room (or parent’s house because of COVID). Possibly the best, easiest gift card to give anyone. It doesn't get any more clutch than this when you're on the lookout for the best gift cards for college students.
Every college kid survives on coffee and Red Bull (is Red Bull still a thing? It’s been a while since I’ve been in college.) A Starbucks gift card is perfect for all-nighters or just to jump-start their morning before an 8 am class.
Whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, or dinner (or all three), pizza is truly an anytime meal. With endless combinations and the $5.99 Mix & Match Deal, this gift card will keep its young, broke recipient from going hungry.
4. Best Buy
Whether the money will go to a new laptop, a big-screen TV, or the new PS5, the Best Buy gift card is perfect for aiding someone to study or to avoid studying. It’s really either/or at this point.
While you may have seen prices drop during the pandemic, one thing that seems to be as costly as ever is Uber rides, something that feels necessary if you’re still not comfortable with riding the train. With the Uber gift card, you can help ease the cost of transportation and a stressed college kid mentally at the same time.
Who has the time or energy to cook now, much less when you’re in college and already strapped for cash and time? This eases the mental burden of “What should I make tonight for dinner?” and as a bonus, it can help support small businesses and the economy.
For the person whose favorite takeout spot isn’t available on Seamless, give them a GrubHub gift card. No one will ever tire of lazily ordering food through an app.
I always wish I had more time to read, but with Audible, catching up on the newest books (and podcasts!) has never been so easy. There are thousands of options and audiobooks are perfect for when you want to change up your commutes, workouts, or boring laundry sessions.
9. Bed, Bath & Beyond
There’s always something a dorm room is missing...and if not a dorm room, then the basement of your parent's house. I recently copped a Keurig coffee maker from my local BBB and it was a game-changer for my mornings. This is a great gift to help young adults buy all the things they need as they transition to adulthood.
Gyms have been in the state of shutting down-opening back up-then shutting back down again for the past few months so they might want to hold off on using this gift card, but ClassPass allows them to try out different workout classes until they find the one they love. If you have someone in mind who hasn’t found their perfect fitness routine or get bored quickly, this gift card might do the trick.
11. Spotify Premium
The gift of music is always a great idea. Whether it’s for workouts, cleaning, studying, relaxing, or a million other activities, having access to your favorite songs and artists always makes tasks better, and the premium service allows you to listen commercial-free.
Everyone found themselves spending a lot more time indoors in 2020 and there’s only so long a person can be productive before they are completely exhausted. If they already don’t have a Netflix account, quickly purchase and send it their way because sometimes the only road to feeling better is to sit on your couch and watch 100 hours of TV and movies.
13. Hulu Plus
Not everything you want to stream is available on Netflix and for that, you need Hulu Plus. This is especially helpful for shows that are still on the air and for some of the harder-to-stream movies (I’m looking at you, Halloweentown.)
If the person you have in mind is more of a creative soul (or maybe they are tired of doing 10,000-piece puzzles), a gift card to Michaels will allow them to unleash all of their artsy dreams! Whether they like drawing, painting, scrapbooking, building, or creating anything at all, Michaels has all the things.
15. Whole Foods
Groceries are already so expensive and eating healthy is usually the last thing on a college kid’s mind. A gift card to Whole Foods makes being mindful of what you’re eating so much easier and they might even be inspired to buy a vegetable or two.
If they're one of those oddballs that actually doesn't use Uber and instead relies on Lyft, throw this gift card their way. Shout out to the college student in your life that goes against the grain and uses the other car service.
The Adidas gift card makes a great gift for the college kid in your life, whether they’re an athlete or just really enjoy fitness. They can pick up a new pair of sneakers or workout gear and can save their money for other more important things, like books. Or drinks.
If they’re trying to get the new PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X (because who isn’t? My brother has been trying for weeks!), this GameStop gift card can help them offset the hefty price tag. Even if they aren’t trying to get a new console, this card is a win for any gamer.
It doesn’t matter how many clothes someone has, they can always buy more. Consumerism, amiright? H&M has tons of affordable options, whether someone needs “interviewing-for-an-internship” slacks or “living-on-the-couch” sweatpants.
20. The Container Store
There’s something so magical about seeing an organized closet. I personally follow tons of organizational IG accounts so whether they have Home Edit goals (or maybe you just want to be able to find all your sweatshirts), The Container Store has endless options for decluttering their clutter.
If the college student in question is about to graduate, giving a gift card from a retailer can help them furnish their new apartment. Macy’s has a variety of items for every aspect of their post-collegiate life from plates for their new kitchen to towels for their new bathroom.
Another great retailer option! Not only is Nordstrom stocked with home furnishings, but they have a great assortment of clothing, shoes, travel, and grooming items from top brands.
Target owns the market on "Things You May Need and Things You Didn’t Know You Needed Until Right This Very Second." From electronics to furniture to toiletries to food, a Target gift card will be a favorite for any college kid.
The best thing about a Visa gift card is that it’s just like giving cash, but it allows the recipient to feel like they can put it towards something more expensive. It’s practically accepted everywhere so there’s no danger in someone struggling to figure out where to use it. You can't go wrong with this card that's available for use anywhere and everywhere, which is why we placed it here on this lineup of the best gift cards for college students.
One thing I remember very vividly from my college days is always having to spend money on gas. Even when all my friends threw in, it felt like we were always having to stop somewhere to refill the tank because anywhere we really wanted to go was always the exact furthest point from where we were. This gift card allows there to be at least one less, “So who’s throwing in for gas?” round of collections.
26. Sephora Gift Card
Every girl needs instant access to Sephora as the brand offers tons of valuable beauty products that you'll benefit from daily. Whether it's makeup or skincare, a gift card from Sephora will come in extremely handy. Looking one's very best during the next on/off-campus meetup is the right move to make. You definitely have to consider this card for that exact situation when it comes time to consider the best gift cards for college students.
27. Finish Line
Athletic gear and college campuses go hand-in-hand. If you need some comfy yet stylish outfits for class, then look no further than Finish Line. There's a variety of brands available in their online category, and the prices are reasonable.
28. Little Caesars
Please don't pretend these don't come in handy. Sometimes in college, you get into a jam and when that happens, a $5 pizza (that is also very good) is the way to go. With many convenient locations across the U.S., a Little Caesars gift card is a very thoughtful gift for a college student.
This is often an overlooked gift. With concerts, games, and plenty of other live events back in action, a Ticketmaster gift card would be a college student's dream. Just make sure you put enough on there for a plus one!
30. Guitar Center
I know a few band geeks that usually have to make the hard decision between buying another batch of Arizona Ice Tea cans or the gear they need for their next musical performances on/off the field. Make their life that much easier by setting them up with a Guitar Center gift card and making sure they have the best drumsticks or whatever else possible. The young musicians in your life would be very thankful for this pick on this list of the best gift cards for college students.
31. PlayStation Store
Once all those papers are written up, all those assignments have been handed in, and there's a ton of free time to kill, chances are the college student you know reverts to video games to keep them busy. If that college gamer has a PS4 or PS5 (lucky them!) in their possession, this PlayStation Store gift card will greatly satisfy them.
Now if that college gamer you know is a full-fledged Xbox fanboy that owns either an Xbox One, Xbox One X, or Xbox Series X|S, then make sure to send this one their way.
33. Nintendo eShop
And finally, blessing the Nintendo Switch owner in your life that's dividing their time between going to class and getting a 100% completion rate in Breath of the Wild, then make sure you supply them with this gift card. You can't go wrong with this or the other gaming-themed gift cards in this collection of the best gift cards for college students.
34. Taco Bell
The munchies always kick in no matter the time or place. It tends to hit pretty hard when it's evening time and college students are starving for something more than another bag of stale chips. This Taco Bell gift card should do a lot to satiate a college student's insatiable hunger.
35. Old Navy
Picking up a few sets of jeans and graphic tees when the weather's a bit warmer on campus is definitely the move if the college student you know has an Old Navy Gift card in their possession. It's definitely worth getting some winter gear with this card if the college students you know are set up somewhere in the northeast.
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