What to Get a Niece Just Entering College

Updated on August 12, 2008
C.L. asks from Elcho, WI
4 answers

I will be having lunch with my niece this week. She will be a freshman this year, and I have no idea what they need. She will be living on campus. Her mom has absolutely nothing to do with her and her dad lives out in Montana, so he's no help either. I have no clue what they need. Any suggestions?

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answers from Minneapolis on

Get her a Target or Amazon gift card. That way she can get whatever she likes and/or needs (like towels, schoolbooks, food, etc). ...and a card telling her how proud you are of her. (It sounds like she needs some "mom-like" support and encouragement.)



answers from Minneapolis on

Several years ago, I bought my sister, a new freshman at the U of Minnesota, gift cards for various restaurants and stores around campus. $10 cards for Chipolte, Brueggers, a nearby pizza place and sub shop. I rounded it out with a campus bookstore certificate. It took a little work ahead of time, but she was so excited!



answers from Minneapolis on

MONEY!!! Or any gift card for supplies or stuff for her room. It would be nice for her to have new towels, soap, shampoo, robe etc in a carry bag or tote. Or gift cards to any restaurants around the campus, or the campus book store would be FABULOUS!!



answers from Minneapolis on

Money and gift certificates for sure! But don't forget, this is her first home away from home, and she'll need a lot of everything. If she's not renting the stuff that's school issued, or she's staying in off-campus housing, consider small appliances like a mini-fridge, a toaster oven, a dorm sized mircrowave (all in the $50 - $60 range). A coffee pot/percolator/french press/ or cappucino maker would be greatly appreciated. I highly recommend the Sunbeam Rocket Grill (mess free version of the Forman Grill..no cleanup at all and faster too) or the Forman Grill if the dorm allows these. A burner or one of those plug in hot water/tea pots. Dishes, pots, pans, utensils, or food storage containers, or even practical stuff like paper towels and toilet paper.

How about a bed in a bag set (comes with everything from sheets to comforter)? Or perhaps any type of fold up multi-functional furniture like a folding papasan chair or futon couch (Target, Walmart, K-Mart and IKEA all have these types of things ranging from $30 to $200.

How will she get around transportation-wise? Maybe a gas card or bus pass? What about entertainment? Movie passes, or something else that might be fun to do on campus..like tickets to the local comedy club or theater?

Last but not least, many ions ago, when I went off on my own, my grandma sent me a huge care package full of pantry dry goods, mostly convenience foods, but some necesities people forget too. She put in cans of soup (hearty stuff like Campbells chunky), cans of Dinty More Stew, cans of Chun King Chow Mein, Kraft Mac and Cheese, Ramen Noodles, spaghetti noodles, spaghetti sauce, peanut butter, crackers, tuna, SPAM, sugar, coffee, cocoa, marshmallows, microwave popcorn etc. Anything that can be easily cooked and stored. This was a lifesaver for sure! Especially if money go tight or the nights of studying too long.

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