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College Gift Registries Gain Popularity

Sept. 2, 2014
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While your college student is busy balancing study, a social life and sleep, you can make sure they have the tools they need and the creature comforts they want, thanks to the rise of the college gift registry.

Registries, once reserved for weddings and baby showers, are now gaining popularity among college students and high school graduates who want to make sure they receive the supplies they need before heading off to school. For the giver, it takes the guesswork out of shopping and creates a more personal alternative to gift cards or money.

College students can create online registries to list their dorm, campus and study essentials from the functional to the just-for-fun. Even if you’ve already waved goodbye, here are a few useful gifts that can help college students start the year off right:

  • You always told them to make sure to brush their teeth, and this Sonicare toothbrush makes it easy to do it even when you’re not around.
  • The student athlete or fitness junkie can track their steps, activity and even sleep with the Fitbit Flex.
  • Prevent them having to pay to print per-page at the library with an HP Envy Printer (Don’t forget ink and paper.).

Retailers aiming to appeal to the college-bound set, such as Bed, Bath & Beyond, Target and The Container Store, all have college-specific online registries. Similar wish list registries that can be shared with friends and family have also caught on with Amazon,, DormSmart and WalMart.

Not only do online registries help students organize and prioritize their essentials, but they also can help them make more practical and fiscally responsible choices by seeing their list in full. Students can add essentials, such as Twin XL bedding and top-rated mattress pads, drying racks, tech accessories and water filters, and treats such as colorful twinkle light strands and wall posters.

More than ever back-to-college shoppers are turning to the Internet to fill their needs. This year 44% of these kinds of shoppers will purchase items online, up from 37% last year, according to the National Retail Federation. Savvy student shoppers who want to add items from any online store can use aggregate gift registries like To get the best deals, you can use the NerdWallet DealFinder tool.

Target’s college registry is for online use only, which means users can manage and share registries on mobile devices and computers, but won’t be able to print or manage their registries using in-store kiosks. Bed, Bath & Beyond  and The Container Store use online and in-store kiosks for all of their registries.

College dorm photo via Shutterstock.