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What are the Best Gifts for a High School Freshman?

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

It’s hard to believe it, but summer vacation is almost over. And that means the start of the school year is just around the corner. Time for school supplies and new clothes and getting everything ready for the new year in school. If you have a brand new high school student in your home, it’s an especially big year. The move from middle school to high school is a big step towards adulthood and independence — a big reason to mark the occasion and celebrate. If you’re looking for gifts for a high school freshman, here are ten ideas that will make this year one of their best yet.

10. Planner

Photo of Planner and Writing Materials
Many schools give kids a planner at the start of freshman year, but most of them are pretty lame. The daily spaces are too small for keeping track of assignments and tests. And they’re often not made well, so within a month or two it starts to shed pages.

That’s why a well-designed school year planner is a thoughtful choice for your new high schooler. Look for a size that will fit easily in a backpack and locker, with a cover and pages that will stay put until the last bell of the year. This could be one of the ideal gifts for a high school freshman.

9. Backpack

Black Backpack on Top of Wooden Table
This is one of the best gifts for a high school freshman you will probably have to pick out with your student, but as gifts go, it’s one of the most useful. The books in high school are significantly heavier than those in middle school, so you’ll want to invest in something sturdy.

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But because appearances are everything, especially during freshman year, let your son or daughter pick out the look and color. When it’s something they’ll be wearing or carrying every day, it’s no time for surprises.

8. Desk light

gifts for a high school freshman
Studies show that the right lighting can improve learning and concentration, so treat your freshman to a new and better desk lamp. A full-spectrum light will reduce eye fatigue, and make it easier to get through all those pages of assignments — gifts for a high school freshman you and your child will definitely appreciate!

7. Language help

gifts for a high school freshman
If your child is taking a language class, consider getting them a home-study language program to supplement their classroom work. A vocabulary-based program won’t interfere with the grammar lessons from class but will make your student more confident in word choices. And that’s a big help towards fluency.

6. Camera

gifts for a high school freshman
Yes, we all have cameras on our phones, but when it comes to capturing the big moments a really good camera is a better choice. Or even better, a camera that can do YouTube-worthy videos, too. Not only will they have fun documenting their high school days, but they might also even hit it big as a YouTubers. And that could make college bills way easier to take!

5. Laptop or tablet

Macbook Pro Near Iphone and Apple Fruit
Once upon a time, having a personal laptop or powerbook was an extra for a high school student. Now it’s pretty much become a requirement. Not only will your student need a computer to do research and write papers, but some classes will also require students to bring one to use in the classroom.

Some schools are taking the lead and providing students with loaner computers, but having a personal machine is a big plus as school-issued ones might block social media or compromise user privacy.

4. A space for success

gifts for a high school freshman
You might call it just a desk, but studies show that having a designated space for school work and storing school supplies makes a big difference in high school grades. Working at the kitchen table might be okay for elementary school, but by late middle school and into high school, a separate desk or table just for the student can make all the difference in the world.

3. Cool school supplies

Black and Blue Pens Beside Red Covered Notebook
One thing that doesn’t change from first grade to freshman year is the need for school supplies. Okay, they might not need crayons anymore (although they might still want them), but the basics like binders, notebooks, pens and folders are on the shopping list year after year.

Forget the boring solids and dull everyone-has-them patterns. Instead, look for some unique designs and images. Skip over the office supply stores and head to museum shops, bookstores, souvenir shops and small art stores. Many of them carry standard-sized notebooks and other school supplies with one-of-kind looks.

2. A ticket to shop

Low Angle View of Shoes
When you’re a teenager getting ready to start high school, finding the right clothes is at the top of your list of must-dos. But you can’t really shop for a teen (trust me, I have tried, and failed at that very task!). You can, however, present them with a gift card to their favorite store, clothing catalogs, or the local mall. This is one of those gifts for high school freshmen that is a guaranteed slam-dunk.

1. A new look

Person Combing Person's Hair
If your teen is worried about their appearance, a gift of personal pampering might be a perfect choice. For boys, that might mean a new haircut from a really top-notch stylist. For girls, a mani-pedi might be a welcome present. And both boys and girls might feel better with some help from a personal shopper to help them create the look they want.

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The freshman year is one of the huge transitions. Make it a little easier for the kids in your life with the right tools and supplies to shine.

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