The Definitive 2021 College Graduation Gift Guide

The Definitive 2021 College Graduation Gift Guide

2021 College Graduation Gift Guide - Look Out Above!

My dear terrified graduates, you are about to enter the most uncertain and thrilling period of your lives.” Lin-Manuel Miranda, University of Pennsylvania Commencement speech 2016

Is it ever too early to start thinking about a graduation gift for the young scholar in your life? We think not. So, despite it being mid-February at the time of this writing, and with snow here in London, it’s time to start thinking about graduation. Since COVID will likely rob 2021 graduates of an actual in-person graduation ceremony, this year it might be especially nice to gift future young professionals something memorable as well as useful.

With that in mind, the two-person team at Look Out Above! global HQ has put together a handy graduation gift guide, with suggestions sure to assist the recipient in his or her first few years of professional work life.

One of my favorite and most memorable gifts — which I received every year from my grandmother at Christmas — was a set of 500 pencils, pre-sharpened and engraved with my name. It only took a couple of Christmases before I had amassed a stockpile of eponymous pencils, which seemed to impress my classmates less and less each year as we got older. Even to this day, twenty-odd years after my last pencil gifting, I’ll occasionally find one of “my” pencils amongst my stuff, and this discovery always makes me smile.

Here we go, then, with the LOA! College Graduation Gift Guide:

  • Look Out Above! The Young Professionals’ Guide to Success, available on Amazon. You knew this one was coming, so let’s get it over with! It’s a must-have for the young professional, especially those about to begin their careers. If you’d like to order multiple copies for all the upcoming graduates in your life, please contact us directly and we’ll give you a great price on a bulk order.
  • One-year membership in a professional society/organization. He or she can renew on their own dime if desired.
  • Personal finance guide. Practical wisdom! But if “personal finance” does not appeal, perhaps this guide to nailing your twenties will.
  • Personal journal. For keeping thoughts on entering the working world during the time of COVID, perhaps? Might be fun for the recipient to look back on — and show his or her grandkids — years down the line. This truly is a unique time — make sure to remember it.
  • Noise-canceling headphones. For the commute, for working out, for relaxing, etc. The authors of LOA! have recently upgraded to AirPods Pro, but there are tons of great options available. Not cheap, but a great gift.
  • Comfy socks. Hear us out — new grads will likely be working virtually for the foreseeable future, so comfort and coziness are perhaps more important now than ever before. Socks are invisible during Zoom calls, so don’t be afraid to experiment a bit. Though the company doesn’t realize (let alone approve of) it yet, these socks served as the LOA! author team’s official sock wear of choice during the brainstorming and writing process.
  • Money with the stipulation that it be used for a “professional” bag. Since bags, like clothing, are highly personal, we hesitate to suggest a particular one, or even a particular type (briefcase, backpack, etc.). But whether your grad will be going to the office or working from home, he or she will likely need a “business bag.” Good bags don’t come cheap.

Other suggestions: gift cards for coffee or tea (particularly helpful during late-night job searching), a nice yoga mat or other wellness equipment (something besides “Six Minute Abs” or other such gimmickry please!), or a handwritten card of encouragement — even if money doesn’t shake out of the card, this will be appreciated.

Finally, while personalized pencils did not make this year’s list, we feel duty-bound to point out that they remain very available. In a world where we’re all becoming increasingly computer- and technology-reliant, my grandmother’s back-to-basics approach of pencil on paper is pretty refreshing!


Look Out Above! The Young Professional’s Guide to Success has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, HR Digest, CBS News, and more. It is available for purchase on Amazon, or by contacting the authors directly for discounted bulk orders.

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