When I graduated from high school everyone had open house parties. You could get the invitations along with your graduation announcements from the school. If it's not straight after high school then just make it a "going away to college" party. We had it in the backyard and had like a barbecue/buffet meal set up with fried chicken and lots of salads, chips&dip, rolls, desserts, and we had a big cake. I knew some people who rented a huge grill and made bbq chicken, hamburgers, hotdogs. Also, a few people had a pig roast, which was really different and delicious! We mostly invited lots of family, similar to a wedding guest list. Plus I invited my friends from school. The younger guests probably won't bring a gift unless they are really close friends. Most of my family gave money or a practical gift like a blanket. I don't think there's anything wrong with registering for gifts, just make sure it's all stuff related to dorm life. The college website probably has a checklist of items she will need. I wouldn't ask for money as a gift, people can make that choice themselves and honestly, most will because it's much easier. Good luck to your niece, going away to college is an irreplaceable experience!