The transition to college is a huge milestone. Adjusting to a new environment, testing the limits of newfound freedom, and getting exposed to lots of new opportunities and people can be exciting as well as overwhelming. Below are some tech gadgets ranked from most expensive to cheapest that are essential for helping an incoming college student ease into the next chapter of life.

Desktop Monitor Screen


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Working on a single screen can be tricky sometimes. It can become annoying and exhaustive to constantly switch between an online reading and the page you take notes. Give your student’s eyes a rest with a desktop monitor screen. On either Windows or Mac, there's an easy way to extend screens from the monitor to the laptop. Your student will be able to read one document on the left and take notes on the right with ease. Perfect for multitasking and a great organizer, a desktop monitor is a pricier gift that your student will thank you for. Ready for a break? The desktop screen can serve as a mini TV -- great for binge watching shows with friends.

Docking Station


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A docking station is a connector device that a laptop can be attached to by just placing it on top of and clicking it in. It can have multiple USB ports, charging ports, speaker connections, VGA plugins, and other functions. It can become super tedious to daily connect and disconnect all of the plugs while switching between class and dorm room. With a docking station you only need to set it up once! All of the plugs get connected to the docking station, so whenever the student is on the go they just need to click in or click out their laptop from the station and the setup will remain intact. Most laptops have a specific docking station for their brand to connect to; if not there are also universal docking stations available. These are simple to use and a huge energy and time saver!

Pebblebee Finder

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New freedom also means new responsibility! In college, students can’t call for their mom to help them find their misplaced keys or wallet last minute. The Pebblebee Finder is the next best thing to having mom help find things. It can be placed on a wide variety of items and is great for student dorm keys. In my freshman year, I lost my dorm keys and had to pay $150 to replace the locks and keys for my roommate and I. This could have been avoided if I had attached a Finder to my keys. I would have been able to look up its Last Known Location on the app and beep it to find it once within 200 feet.

Portable Charger



In college, a student’s phone is their lifeline. From looking up class schedules, finding bus routes and times, calling/texting friends to take notes for them if late or sick, and of course documenting the whole journey with pictures, college students use their phones constantly. This makes battery life a high priority and a portable charger an essential gadget. Portable chargers can come in different ranges of power capacity and are usually under $25. Find the perfect charger for your student whether they need a smaller one for a quick boost or a powerful one that can charge their phone from 0% to 100% twice.

Ethernet Cable

This gift item doesn’t seem as exciting but it’s definitely handy when it comes to college campus WiFi. Just because the school has WiFi, doesn’t mean that it works well! When your student is rushing to submit that essay before the deadline and the WiFi becomes super slow (probably because other students procrastinated as well), they’ll really wish that they had an Ethernet cable. It’s a cheap, simple essential that will stabilize and speed up the Internet connection. When your savvy student is downloading those large PDF textbook files, an Ethernet cable comes in clutch. Don’t make your student have to fight over prime locations for WiFi; let them work in the comfort of their room with an Ethernet cable this fall.