Best Gifts for Dorms

America had nearly 20 million college students at the end of 2020. Of these students, approximately 4 million reside in dormitories or university accommodation.

These students can share spaces ranging from less than 100 square feet about 200 square feet. Although the size and configuration of dwellings vary considerably, space is generally tight. This means that you should choose gifts for students with special care.

If you know a college student or about to go to college, keep reading for great gift ideas at two price points: under $25 and under $50. And if you’re a student yourself, we’ve got some ideas to treat you to free.

Gifts for $25 or less

A rectangular light therapy lamp

Do you know anyone with a dark dorm? This LED-based lamp creates light that mimics sunlight, minus the potentially harmful UV waves. It has adjustable brightness, a timer, and a compact, square design. Experts say millions of people live seasonal affective disorderand light therapy can help.

a bamboo desk on folding legs

Nearly 40% of Americans admit they work regularly in bed. For dorm students, this number is likely higher. Consider gifting this foldable and adjustable desk to make those extra long twin beds better workspaces. It is made of natural bamboo and has a storage drawer. It is also ideal for reading or eating in bed.

Modern-looking charger charges multiple smart devices at once

Ninety-six percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 have a smart phone, so almost everyone will appreciate this gift. It can charge smartphone, smartwatch, smart pen and wireless headphones simultaneously. It is compatible with Apple and Samsung products. This multi-in-one charger will eliminate the tangles of cables, adapters, or dongles and keep a student’s tech charged and ready to go.

Gifts for $50 or less


If your student has a TV with an HDMI port, Chromecast can supercharge it. Chromecast brings together multiple streaming services and live TV through a single user interface. Viewers can search for content with voice commands or browse personalized Chromecast recommendations.


According a study, people in clean spaces are more relaxed, less stressed and more productive. They even sleep better. Consider gifting this cordless handheld vacuum to help your student keep their room tidy. Its sleek, modern design includes a lithium-ion battery, USB charging cable, and tools for cleaning tight spaces. It also includes a stand and built-in tool storage.

A gray clock radio charges a smartphone

This device offers six functions in one compact unit: an alarm clock, FM radio, Bluetooth speaker, wireless phone charger, mood light and white noise machine. The angled phone dock allows a student to use their phone while charging. It also has an additional USB port to charge another device.

Treat yourself: gifts that don’t cost a penny

Many continue to face personal financial hardship during the pandemic. If you don’t feel comfortable asking for gifts – or if you’re one of the over 10% of Americans choosing not to exchange gifts this year – consider giving yourself one of these favors or giving the gift of knowledge by sharing these gifts with friends and loved ones.

Microsoft logo

Students — and anyone with an .edu email address — can sign up for Office 365 Education for free, though your school might already provide access. A student account includes access to online versions of apps and services like Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Exchange, OneDrive, and Teams.

first amazon

If Amazon is your go-to for almost everything, consider this: Prime Student members get a free six-month trial of Amazon’s popular premium service. It includes free two-day shipping on qualifying purchases and unlimited media streaming through Prime Video. Be warned: after six months, you will be charged $6.49 per month. Also, you cannot share Prime benefits with a student account.

A phone displaying the Chime app and a Chime-branded Visa card

If you want an online-only banking experience, do you offer free banking and check out Chime. This mobile financial app can handle direct deposits and has no monthly fees or minimum balance. It also lets you transfer money, pay bills, send money digitally, or even mail a paper check. Chime members enjoy free access to thousands of ATMs in the United States

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