As September fast approaches, it’s time to shake off those summer cobwebs and start thinking about school again. Whether they’re heading back to their alma mater, starting fresh on a new campus, or even just taking a few classes online, now’s a great time to show the students in your life that you have their back.
Below, we’ve rounded up some back to school essentials students will actually enjoy, including upgraded gear, unique school supplies, dorm room decorations, and just fun stuff to help them relax between classes and make new friends.
What are you looking for?
subscriptions gear devices games swag decorations books
How much do you want to spend?
$ $$ $$$
Survive an apocalypse-themed escape room without leaving your dorm room (and listen to the tie-in podcast starring Jenny Slate.) $30/month
8Bitdo's latest wireless controller combines retro style with modern tech — and a real D-pad. $49.99
Scuf’s customizable PS4 controllers are favored by none other than avid gamer Aubrey Drake Graham. Starts at $169.95
Pre-orders are open for the long-awaited handheld-only Switch console, which will launch on Sept. 20. $199.99
This RPG about teen superheroes is a ton of fun even if you're not a teen and don't have super powers. $29.99
Microsoft's new subscription combines Xbox Game Pass with Xbox Live Gold. $14.99/month
An entry level 4K TV with built-in Fire TV is perfect for dorm rooms. $249.99
This party game is like Codenames meets Werewolf. $19.99
Razer's Quartz line of pink PC accessories includes a highly instagrammable headset with cat ears. Starts at $19.99
Amazon's thinner, lighter, waterproof Kindle Paperwhite can be tossed in any backpack. $129.99
LA-based company Public Space is known for its Vaporwave-style designs; its retro gaming line features some super cute Nintendo and PlayStation hoodies.
One of the few solutions for using wireless headsets with the Nintendo Switch. $39.99
Mondo's hand numbered screenprinted film posters are way more interesting dorm decor than another Scarface poster. Starts at $40
Acer's Predator Helios 300 is powerful enough for gaming but slim and lightweight enough to take to class. $999.99
Come for the ~ aesthetic ~, stay for the Victory Royale. $299
Stranger Things marketing brought back the best parts of the 80s. $142.19
Our pick for best gaming headset for Nintendo Switch. $99
Teach students at fake school while going to real school.
Amuse your friends with such gems as: What do you call a student in Professor Sprout's class? "Herb" $7.99
Game developer Dustin Hansen wrote this YA book about the history of gaming. $8.10
Watching TV from your PC is made a lot easier with a wireless keyboard. $24.99
It's the closest you can get to being a real Pokémon trainer — for now. Starts at $55
The deluxe slipcase edition of the Breath of the Wild art book would be a welcome addition to any bookshelf. $60.10
You don't need to be the captain of any team to rock this adorable varsity jacket. $54.99
Depending on how your day's going, it might be nice to channel Aggretsuko at your desk every now and then. $10.45
Tired: character backpacks Wired: character tote bags $25
Because starting a podcast in college is a new rite of passage. $129.99
A fancy Switch case is the perfect gift if you're going for a mix of classy and fun. $129
Take your toiletries to the hall bathroom with style. $13.93
Unfortunately your lunch will probably not be as delicious as a Krabby Patty, but one can dream. $15.92
Pottery Barn's duvet cover printed with patronuses is a little bit more subtle than typical character sheets. $69
Don't forget to stay hydrated on your way to Potions. $19.99
More useful than that Dr. Seuss book everyone gets at graduation, but equally sweet. $27.95
Liven up any party with this small-but-powerful speaker. $149.94
Turn your mini-fridge into a GameBoy minus, you know, the games. $19.99
Challenge your roommates to a game of chess — if you lose, move on to Smash Bros. $46.23