Gift Ideas for New Grads

Usually YouAlberta likes to write for those of us in the student stage of life, but this post is for all of those parents, friends, and other loved ones who might be looking for ways to help celebrate their student’s graduation — after all, convocation is a pretty big deal. So here are a few gift ideas that your new or soon-to-be grad might appreciate.


Flowers are a classic “congrats” gift. They look nice, they smell nice, and the combination of those two things is nice. And while they might seem like an obvious or generic gift to give a grad, they don’t have to be — be selective when picking out which bouquet to give your grad — pick out a type or colour of flower that you think they’d enjoy.


Everybody has to eat, and enjoying a celebratory meal with your new grad ensures that you do just that on what is likely to be a busy day. What you eat and where you eat is up to you.

A Degree Frame

Although it’s only a piece of paper, a university degree represents at least four years of achievement and hard work. That achievement deserves to be celebrated and acknowledged. Plus, the degree should be kept in a safe place — so why not stick it in a frame! Show that degree off!

An Alma Mater Hoodie

On a practical note, the hoodie will provide your new grad with warmth on those chillier days — but on a higher level, every time they put on their hoodie, it will be like a getting a cozy hug from their school. And from you (if you purchase it for them).

A Book

During their degree, your grad probably read a lot of books. Like, LOTS of books. And chances are that the majority of those books were textbooks. Now that they’ve graduated though, your grad will likely get to read for FUN! You can always get them the classic “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” or you can find them a book in their favourite genre, or you can offer them something that might help them navigate their post-school journey. We have a few book suggestions that we think students (and new grads) might appreciate here.

Now that they finished their degree, your grad is going to have so much time to do all of the things that they used to put off… like reading! More specifically, reading for fun! We have a few ideas for what they might want to read here.

Bears…. yes, bears!

No, not the actual athletics teams, and definitely not the real thing, but stuffed teddy bears are 1 — cute, 2 — good travel companions 3 — adorable 4 — a reminder of your grad’s school mascots.


Every little bit helps, so if you’d like to (and are in a position to) help your grad begin their post-graduation savings plan, then a small (or if you’re lucky, large) donation would be appreciated. Available wherever you keep your cash. (If you have cash to give… and remember, it’s okay if you don’t — a lucky penny that you find on the ground would be just as good.)

A Professional Wardrobe

During their time in school, your grad likely wore the university student uniform, which usually consists of jeans/sweatpants and a hoodie/t-shirt… and while they should still hold on to those comfy items, that might not cut it when they enter the full-time work force. Helping your grad invest in a few business-casual clothing items will likely help them as they get their career going.

(And yes, you can totally buy them a U of A bowtie, and it WILL look awesome.)

A Trip

If your grad doesn’t have a job ready and waiting for them after they’ve finished walking the stage at convocation, that’s OKAY. It means that they’ll have time to look for the job that best suits them and it means that they’ll have some time to explore the world beyond their classroom. If you can afford to send your grad on an exotic trip to distant lands, go for it. And if you can’t, you can always send them to visit family or friends that they haven’t been able to see for a while.

Your Congratulations!

Sometimes the most meaningful gift can simply be knowing that your loved ones are proud of you… so share your pride with them!