Valentine's Day Gift Ideas for College Students

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Although there are exceptions, college students tend to have a few things in common: They're often on a strict budget, they don't have a lot of space in their small shared dorm room or apartment and they are ultra busy with school, possibly work and a social life. Give your favorite college student a gift this Valentine's Day that not only keeps these factors in mind but also shows how much you care.

A close-up of a pink rose in the seam of an open book.
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When on a college budget, luxury pampering gifts aren't realistic. Give her the gift of relaxation; schedule a massage or facial or give a gift card so she can use it during a stressful time, such as during finals. If you're also on a budget, look on coupon or deal websites, which often feature discount sessions. If you're on a serious budget and very close with the recipient, give a card for a personal massage at home. If your favorite college student doesn't have easy access to a spa or the means to travel to one, send a gift basket full of pampering items such as body lotion, shower gel and a loofah. For a young woman, send her a complete manicure kit, including nail files, toe separators and a few colors of nail polish.

Two heart-shaped homemade soaps laying on a table.
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College students often don't have the space, budget or even the know-how to cook a fancy dinner. Give him the gift of a good meal in one of three ways. Take him out to dinner -- a traditional Valentine's Day event -- or send him a basket of ingredients to make a meal such as a pasta dinner; nestle dried pasta, a high-quality jarred sauce, spices and a block of Parmesan cheese in a stockpot. The third option is to attend a cooking class with your college student, which is a fun activity for a couple or a pair of friends.

Students at a prep counter during a cooking class.
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College students who want to give another student something special on Valentine's Day but are on a tight budget need not fret. Hand-make a card and write a note that shares how much you value your relationship with the recipient. Gather photos and mementos from your relationship and add your favorite memory from the day each memento reflects. Include photos from your time together at college, such as from football games or homecoming. Arrange them in a box or scrapbook so the recipient can take a walk down memory lane. Add pictures of flowers, hearts, chocolate and use a red, pink and white color scheme to tailor it to Valentine's Day.

An overhead view of materials for a romantic scrapbook.
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If you and your best pal are single on Valentine's Day, there's no need to wallow in self-pity. Spend the evening together and exchange gifts to celebrate freedom and friendship. Package your favorite rom-com movie or a TV show to binge-watch, a bottle of wine if you're of age -- if not, a bottle of sparkling lemonade or cider will do -- and a favorite candy. If you prefer to go out for the night, give your friend a pink, red or purple sparkly top to wear to a dance club or bar.

Three young women dancing together at a club.
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