Best Books for High School Graduates / Post updated February 2023
It’s what every high school grad needs before they venture off to college… solid advice.
And, what better way to deliver great advice than by giving your favorite grad a book filled with tips and tricks to make the transition into college easier?
From serious (with a little motherly sass) and seriously funny to tips on getting that gross stain out of their shirt and ideas to help make friends in college, our best books for high school graduates gift guide is jam-packed with the all-time best books for high school graduates venturing off to college!
Give them a book alone (sign it, of course, and include your own best advice) or tuck in a gift card as a little “extra” – either way, it’s an easy, thoughtful, and fun graduation gift any grad would love!
Here are the BEST books for high school graduates!
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The Freshman Survival Guide
A fun and humorous guide to navigating the first year of college, “The Freshman Survival Guide” speaks to college students in their own language. The book packs in practical tools they need like how to avoid drinking, sleeping or skipping their way out of college.
Want to help your favorite grad ace their next exam? Claim victory as the ping pong champion of the century? Remove that gross stain from their shirt before their interview? Then “College Hacks” is the book for them! This book helps solve problems, simplify tasks, reduce frustration and make college totally awesome!
The Naked Roommate
A New York Times bestselling book, “The Naked Roommate” is the #1 “going to college” book. The book is filled with expert tips and advice about everything under the sun from classes and friends to dorm life and sex.
1001 Things Every College Student Needs to Know
This fun book blends a bit of wit and wisdom with practical tips and advice ranging from class enrollment, living on campus, smart study habits and a few no-brainer tips like “don’t forget to buy your books before class starts!”
The 5 Ingredient College Cookbook
Just because they’re heading off to college doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy home-cooked delicious meals. This little cookbook packs in a ton of great 5-ingredient recipes college kids can make right in their dorm.
Whatever You Are, Be a Good One – 100 Inspirational Quotes
A quote book like no other, this hand-lettered collection of inspirational quotes compiles timeless wisdom from all the great minds – from Oscar Wilde and Harriet Tubman to Stephen King and Joan of Arc. Even Socrates’ “Wisdom Begins in Wonder” is included.
Humble & Kind
Inspired by Tim McGraw’s #1 hit single and video, “Humble & Kind,” this book is a keepsake that offers tender clarity and a message with words that reinforce lessons in mindful, compassionate living.
Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
When it comes to the best books for high school graduates, this just might the most iconic book ever. From soaring to high heights and seeing great sights to being left in a Lurch on a prickle-ly perch, Dr. Seuss addresses life’s ups and downs with his trademark humor, while encouraging readers to find the success that lies within. It’s the perfect send-off for high school graduates!
I Wish You More
Filled with wishes every high school graduate needs, “I Wish You More” sends along wishes for curiosity and wonder, friendship and strength, and laughter and peace. For the graduate who’s celebrating one of life’s biggest milestones, this adorably uplifting book is a perfect choice.
Note to Self
In this New York Times bestselling book, Gayle King of CBS This Morning rounds up advice, encouragement and inspiring words from a variety of notable people with insight geared toward the young people they once were. This book encourages young high school grads to take advice from those who’ve walked in their shoes.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff (and it’s all small stuff)
A great guide for college-bound students, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” helps future college kids put challenges in perspective, reduce stress through small daily changes, and a find path to achieve their goals. Plus, it inspires them to think of problems as potential “teachers,” to do one thing at a time, share the glory with others and to trust their intuitions.
Do Your Laundry or You’ll Die Alone
This fun book is overflowing with advice a mom would give if she thought her child was actually listening. With warm wit and a hint of motherly sass, the book talks about everything from phone etiquette and forgiveness to how to avoid boring conversations and scary dates.
Yay, You! Moving Up and Moving On
This one is a no-brainer! For new graduates, “Yay, You” won’t overstress the weary mind. It’s nice and short, with lots of pictures, no chapters, no index, no graphs and absolutely no study questions – just profound insight, inspiration and fun advice.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future
Michael J. Fox abandoned high school to pursue an acting career, but went on to receive honorary degrees from several universities and garner the highest accolades for his acting and his writing. In his book, he inspires and motivates graduates to recognize opportunities, maximize their abilities, and roll with the punches – all with his trademark optimism, warmth, and humor.
Undecided. Navigating Life and Learning After High School
Figuring out what to do after graduation can be a major question for some high school graduates. That’s where “Undecided” comes in. This handy book outlines the different options available to teens after high school and provides suggestions on how to follow each path efficiently and successfully.
What Color is Your Parachute for Teens
For college kids who have absolutely no idea what they want to be in life, this fun book draws on time-tested principles to help them discover their passions, skills, potential college majors and even their dream job.
Mug Cakes: 100 Speedy Microwave Treats to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth
With dozens of mouthwatering recipes, there is something in this book to please every taste. It’s all here, from basic Buttermilk Cake, Red Velvet, and Carrot Cake to fancy Chocolate Caramel Fleur de Sel. College kids can even try their hand at S’mores and Root Beer Float cakes.
She Believed She Could, So She Did
This mini book is the perfect graduation gift for any girl. It’s filled with quotes that celebrate inner strength, belief and the power of dreaming big! You’ll find inspiring quotes like ‘Adventure is worthwhile in itself” (Amelia Earhart) and ”Yes, I can, and yes, I will.” (Emily Dickinson).
The Worst-Case Scenario College Survival Handbook
A helpful guide and must-have for the college-bound student who wants to know how to identify a party school, how to deal with a nightmare(ish) roommate, the best way to pull an all-nighter and how to avoid doing laundry at all cost.
Goodnight Dorm Room
All the BEST advice you wish you got before going to college including what to pack, what to leave behind, how to pick classes, where to make new friends, how to change your sheets and even why flip flops are an absolute must.
The Her Campus Guide to College Life
Some things in life are just plain common sense, but when it comes to navigating a college campus and campus life for the first time, there’s a lot to learn. “The Her Campus Guide to College Life” takes the mystery out of college with great insight like how to manage relationships, stay safe, be healthy and make college the best four years of your life.
The College Bucket List
No college student ever wants to graduate college with regrets! This fun book packs in 101 fun, unforgettable and maybe even life-changing things every college student should do before they graduate.
The ABCs of Adulthood
A book of wit and wisdom every soon-to-be college student needs to have. From New York Times bestselling author Deborah Copaken come 26 genuine and funny bits of advice – each paired with a matching letter alphabet letter. From “A” is for Anger through “Z” is for Zzzzzzs, each entry offers mounds of sound advice grads can carry with them on their college journey.
Every Teenager’s Little Black Book for Graduates
With black-and-white rules blurring into areas of gray, graduates need a guidebook to help them keep this ever-changing world in perspective. The “Little Black Book for Graduates,” written by nationally known youth minister Blaine Bartel, is written specifically to help graduates understand how to live life as a Christian as they begin a new life of responsibility.
In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It
In her hilarious relatable way, Lauren Graham, star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood, reflects on growing up, pursuing your dreams, and living in the here and now. “Whatever path you choose, whatever career you decide to go after, the important thing is that you keep finding joy in what you’re doing, especially when the joy isn’t finding you.”