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  • Writer's pictureJill Hartmann

Top 5 college graduation gifts for girls

Updated: Jun 14, 2023

My oldest will graduate from college in May and I've spent a lot of time searching for a memorable graduation gift for her. I wanted to find something timeless that she could keep forever to remind her of her college journey. She's worked so hard and has accomplished so much. She not only survived the COVID pandemic years, she has also overcome many other very difficult and life-changing challenges. I want this gift to express how proud I am of her. Here are five meaningful gifts that you may want to consider for your daughter.

1 - Personalized alumni jewelry.

UC 14k Gold Necklace
UC 14k Gold Necklace

I don't have a lot of real jewelry, but the few pieces I have are very dear to me. I wanted my daughter to have a special piece of jewelry that can mark her accomplishment and be passed down for generations. Kyle Cavan Jewelry has simple and beautiful pieces at a variety of price points. You can customize many pieces with initials, graduation year and even add charms and bars. They offer a lot of college and sorority options. This University of Cincinnati 14k gold charm necklace can be customized with her name and graduation year engraved on the back. I Googled and found a 10% discount code.

Price range: $40 - $1,500 Bonus: Kyle Cavan is women-owned and they donate a portion of their proceeds to organizations like No Kids Hungry, Girls Who Code and United Negro College Fund to help provide the resources for young people to succeed.

2 - Luxury Carry On Luggage

It seems like however long or short the trip, my daughter is efficient at packing! Often times, she only needs a backpack. So an upgrade to this Ebby Rane luxury carry on would work for any trip! This is something she'd never invest in herself, so it would make for a nice gift.

Price range: $200 - $995

Bonus: The company is a black-owned business, launched by a lawyer and former banking executive who travelled frequently for work. She designed the ultimate carry-on, The Quartermaster, to include everything a woman needs when traveling.

3 - Laptop tote

Like most people in her generation, my daughter is searching for a job that is mostly remote. But, I'm sure she'll need to go to an office at some point. Here's a nice, but casual laptop tote from Madwell. It has pockets inside and a zip closure and it can be personalized with her name or initials. You can even order different straps to personalize even further - they have striped, braided, gold and plaid.

Bonus: This item pairs nicely with the luxury carry on shown above!

Price: $198 plus $10 to personalize, $16-45 for additional straps

4 - Graduation photo album

If you know me, you know I love Shutterfly photo albums! I have one from every special event and vacation. They have a special design, just for graduates. I'd recommend the 12 X 12 book - it's a large size that showcases photos nicely. I know my daughter is planning to take some photos around campus in her cap and gown, so those would be displayed perfectly in this book. You can add a text page and write an inspiring message to your graduate. An upgrade to a premium leather cover would make the book even more special.

Tip: Don't order from Shutterfly without first searching for a discount code. I always find discounts or free shipping.

Bonus: Shutterfly offers a free 24-hour design service if you need help creating a book. You provide photos and instructions, they design it within 24 hours, then you make changes or approve before ordering.

5 - Long-term savings

We were fortunate to be able to save and pay for college with 529 Plans for our kids. My daughter's account will have a little bit left over when she graduates. We had always planned to use that money to help pay for college for our younger kids. But, the SECURE 2.0 Act, which became law in December 2022, changed the 529 Plan rules to permit rollovers of some funds from these college savings accounts into a Roth IRA. Previously, a 10% penalty would have applied. Now, we can use this money to give her a boost for her retirement savings!

In the end, I decided on the personalized necklace for my daughter's graduation gift. I'm also planning to roll her 529 Plan into a Roth IRA to help jump start her retirement savings. I think these gifts will go a long way to help me express how proud I am of her!

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