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Valentine’s Day gifts, ideas, and activities for college students

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college girl enjoying her day on Valentine's day

If you’re anything like me… Valentine’s Day in college brought about a state of stress because there’s a lot of hype and expectations that couldn’t always be met.

Cue the Valentine’s Day survival guide.

Maybe you’re a really bad planner but you have a big heart.

Maybe you have a big heart…but you have no money (likely).

Or maybe you loathe the existence of Valentine’s Day because it’s just another holiday to spend money buying silly Valentine’s Day gifts, think about your loneliness and place bets on how many V-day Instagram posts you’ll scroll by before you scream….

Well now that the dark part is over, you might be wondering how on earth you’re supposed to get by on Valentine’s Day no matter what your situation is….

Things to do on Valentine’s Day when you’re single, gifts for him and her, and how to ask your crush on a date…

Whatever it is, we got you.

For those who are single on Valentine’s Day

First off, being single on Valentine’s Day in college is pretty great. You don’t have to worry about spending your money, having obligations to someone, or straight up putting the effort into a relationship at all. All the expectations can be completely avoided and you can carry on with your day in peace.

But maybe you don’t feel that way, and being single on the most romantic day of the year is a huge buzzkill for you. If that’s you, take these survival tips for what they’re worth…you deserve it.

What to do if you’re single on Valentine’s Day:

  1. Don’t go on social media. If this is a sore spot for you, seeing people happy and in love then why not just avoid it altogether. You have complete control over where you spend your time so just don’t spend it there for this one day. Instead, spend some time outdoors or learning something new, or just catching up with a friend you haven’t seen in a while. You’d be surprised how much better it will make you feel.
  2. Have a ‘you’ day. Dedicate a whole day to you! This day is yours to do whatever you want. You can start it off with a good workout, sweating always makes me feel better. Then treat yourself to a nice meal, something you wouldn’t do buy. Maybe you book an appointment to go get a massage on campus or you do a meditation. This post has lots of resources for some free apps you can use to meditate. Pro tip: your health services center might offer this at an extremely discounted price, so check there first before booking something expensive.  If you have a car, drive to your favorite place and just enjoy your own company for a bit. Then come home and binge-watch your favorite TV show with some popcorn or a box of chocolates. It sounds like the ultimate day.
  3. Make your day full of productivity. It sounds dreadful, but it can actually be pretty empowering and provoke your want to be independent (who needs an SO?) You can start working on your resume to score that internship you want. Focus on the class you need the most help with. Look up better studying methods. Make a diet and nutrition plan that you feel good about.  Anything that’s productive and can help you focus on something else counts, and you can go to bed feeling really good about yourself.
  4. Gather your friends and have a Galentine’s Day (sorry guys, this is usually just something girls will do). You can make this special or low-key, whatever you want. The best Galentine’s Days can usually be spent watching romantic movies with good snacks and lots of chocolate. You can even decide to get each other little gifts to show each other how much you value and appreciate each other. But obviously, if you’re keeping it budget-friendly just your presence is good enough.
  5. Newly single? Take this day to reflect on everything you learned from your past relationship. You can do this in your journal by making a list of things you want and don’t want in your next SO. This sounds silly but it can actually be really helpful when attracting the right person into your life. If you don’t confront the things that work and that don’t work for you, you may just always fall into the same crumby relationships over and over again. So grab a pen and start writing.
  6. Spread the love! Choose to pay it forward today, even if it’s something small like buying the person behind you’s coffee or being mindful of holding doors open for others, being courteous, giving compliments or even volunteering somewhere. Anything that makes you feel good can turn your day around and it’s simple nor does it require you to put much thought into it. But the benefits are amazing, so try it!
  7. Buy yourself something nice. Eying something? Wait to buy it on Valentine’s Day! It will give you something to look forward to and make you feel like you’re spreading the love to yourself. Why be sad that no one got you anything when you bought yourself something you actually wanted? Sounds way better.

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Valentine’s day college care package ideas

Being single doesn’t have to be that bad, in fact, it’s another way to get a sweet care package from your parents if anything. But what kinds of things should your parents get you in a care package for Valentine’s Day? Aside from chocolates and flowers, here’s a few other things your daughter might appreciate more than all of that.

Valentine’s Day gifts for daughter in college

  • Some new tops from J. Crew. Did you know J. Crew was on Amazon? That means you can get that 2-day prime shipping straight to your daughter’s dorm with something she actually wants! Check out their new arrivals, there’s usually something for everyone by this brand.
  • A dead sea mud mask to help her relax with that spa-like feel. Since your daughter probably can’t afford a spa day in college, why not bring the spa-day to her. This one is perfect for her and her friends too!
  • A weighted blanket to help her sleep better and calmer. They say weighted blankets can help ease anxiety and stress. Make sure you get the appropriate size blanket since this is a big factor for the benefits of the blanket. We suggest 41×60 for a twin-size bed or about 6-10% of body weight!
  • An assortment of herbal teas. These are especially good for when your daughter might be battling the plague of all of her dormmates or simply wants to cozy up with a cup of tea after a long week of studying.

Sending a care package to your son on Valentine’s Day might be a little trickier.  You ultimately just want him to feel a little love from back home, so here are a few ideas to make sure that he feels all that love.

Valentine’s Day gifts for college son

  • A Hydroflask reusable water bottle.  Odds are, your son’s campus has water fill-up stations all over since that’s the norm these days. So why not get him an insulated water bottle that he can take everywhere? These ones are some of the best rated ever and for good reason. They can keep water cold for up to 24 hours! Perfect for those hot summer days and 3 hour-long lectures.
  • The game of Spike Ball. This game is super fun for everyone, especially college guys! He can rally up some friends and play when the springtime rolls around.
  • Wireless headphones. These might be a bit on the pricier side, but these wireless Bose earphones are a great pick-me-up for your son.  College students seem to always have their headphones in, and it’s not actually a bad thing.  Music can be essential for focusing on studying and staying in the zone. It’s also nice to have music working out and walking to and from class. That’s why these are so great because they will definitely be used and appreciated.
  • Fresh Nike socks. There is no such thing as too many pairs of socks, especially in college. So don’t feel like this is a lame gift because it is certainly not. Especially if you’re trying to send your son some practical gifts, this would be the perfect addition to that theme.
  • Gym or workout class gift card.  If you do a little research to see what’s in the area, you’ll probably find a dozen workout classes for all different types of exercise. Get your son a giftcard or two to try out and try something new.


For those who are in a relationship on Valentine’s Day 

Love is in the air….but money is not in your pocket. The good thing is, is no one really expects you to spend a lot of money, the only person putting that pressure on you, is you.

There are so many things to do for Valentine’s Day despite how much money you have (or don’t have) and it can still be extremely romantic if you play your cards right.

So check out these Valentine’s Day ideas for your college girlfriend or boyfriend. They will not be disappointed, I promise!

Valentine’s Day date ideas for college students

  1. Go ice skating. Does your school have an ice skating rink? If you have a hockey team or even an outdoor rink if you live somewhere cold, sometimes they open it up and allow you to go free-skating. Usually, you only have to spend money to rent the skates and then you and your sweetie can have a romantic time falling, laughing, and enjoying each other’s company. Follow it up with a movie and some hot chocolate and it sounds like the best V-Day date there ever was.
  2. Make a playlist specifically for your SO of all the songs that remind you of them. Take them someplace sweet that has some relevance to your relationship and start playing them the playlist. Even if you take a drive to nowhere, this can be one of the best non-date, dates ever. And it’s incredibly thoughtful.
  3. Bake cookies together. Nothing says love like spending some time in the kitchen together. Grab some ingredients from the store and get to it. You can make something complex and use each other to figure out the details. Whatever it is, make it playful and don’t take it too seriously. Then indulge in the cookies together while you cozy up with a blanket and maybe some candles. 
  4. Create a scavenger hunt. How fun is this?! You can get really cheesy and make the clues a poem and place them at important landmarks of your relationship. Maybe the first place you met. The first place you kissed. The classroom where it all started. Get creative and you’ll be sure to make your lover’s year with this one. You can lead it to a box of chocolates or a dozen roses or whatever you want. They’ll be so blown away by your effort and creativity they won’t care what they get at the end.
  5. Watch the sunset together. The best way to end the day will be to watch the sunset together if you can see it. Grab a blanket and find a spot to sit and cuddle as you chat and enjoy being with each other. It’s free and it’s a special way to show someone you care about them.

So you’re more into gift ideas?

V-Day is all about the gifts, and V-Day in collee is surely no exception, so if you want to get something nice AND meaningful for the person you love, check out these Valentine’s Day gifts for her and for him.

Valentine’s Day gifts for her

1. Chocolate-covered strawberries

chocolate covered strawberries for valentine's day in collegeNothing says ‘I love you’ like chocolate-covered strawberries. These are the BEST and everyone enjoys them.

You can get them specially delivered to your lover and they’ll be so grateful. Plus, you can probably get one too if you play your cards right.


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2. Delicate heart necklace

Want to say something sentimental with a piece of jewelry but don’t want to drop all that money?

This delicate heart necklace is so sweet and cute, your Valentine will love it,  she won’t even care how much money you spent on it.

It really IS the thought that counts.


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3. Cutest little desktop planter

Nothing says a homey desk than a plant she can love and nurture. But a lot of planters are a bit bulky and space is precious in small spaces like dorms and apartments.

A desktop planter vase is the perfect gift to remove the bulk of a planter and give her a little greenery to spruce up her day.


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4. Essential oil diffuser 

essential oil diffuser for Valentine's day in collegeThis is still the top gift for a good reason, dorm rooms and apartment buildings with a bunch of college students don’t always smell the best.

An essential oil diffuser can do more than just make her space smell nice, but it can also be calming and relaxing. It’s great for long days of studying or romantic nights in with each other. 


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5. Trendy jade facial roller

Looking for something trendy? Check out this jade facial roller.

Jade is known for it’s calming and soothing effects. It can help ease stress and diminish the look of bags under the eyes and puffy eyes while awakening and rejuvenating the skin. 

In other words, she will love it and love that you thought of getting it for her.


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Valentine’s Day gifts for him

1. Book of date ideas

book of date ideas for Valentine's Day in collegeA book of date ideas is the gift that keeps on giving your entire relationship. Whenever you’re looking for something you and your SO can do, you can pick up this book and find something. Easy!

This book has so many unconventional dates and activities for you to make the best memories together, even if they’re total fails. 


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2. A handwritten book by you

handwritten book for Valentine's Day in college“What I Love About You by Me” book. Another book, but this one is customized and made especially by you.

If your boyfriend is a sentimental kind of person, he will absolutely adore this because it was made by you. 


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3. Fondue for two set
fodue for two for Valentine's Day in collegeNo stove needed and dorm room safe! 

The best thing about fondue is you can do a cheese fondue or chocolate fondue and either make for a romantic meal where you and your lover can enjoy all the bite-sized dips you want. 

This also makes a great party item, so the next time you host anything you can pull this out and it’s sure to be a hit. 


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4. A blueprint of his childhood dog

blueprint of dog for Valentine's Day in collegeA dog is a man’s best friend. So why not get your BF a blueprint of his canine friend to remind him of his pup.

This one is perfect to hang up by his desk and he will be so grateful for the thought you put into it that alongside his doggo, he will think of you every time he sees it. 


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5. USA beer cap map

USA beer cap map for Valentine's Day in collegeIf your boyfriend is a craft beer lover, which is so hip of him a beer cap map is the perfect gift. 

And it can even encourage your wants to travel, sure it might be locally at first but as you grow you can hit every state and make sure to take a beer cap with you to put on the map.


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For those who are crushing hard on Valentine’s Day in college

Valentine’s Day when you’re in college (and real life) is the most cliche day to tell your crush your into them. But hey, it also makes it that much more approachable to do since you know it won’t be just out of the blue.

That being said, telling your crush you’re into them is still hard because who really wants to get rejected and if that’s a possibility you want to gear yourself up so you don’t fall flat on your face.

How to survive telling your crush you’re into them on Valentine’s Day in college:

  1. Write everyone who’s important in your life a letter & include your crush. It doesn’t have to be a love letter, it can be a ‘like’ letter or just a letter saying how much you appreciate that person. Then make sure you write one to your crush. Even if they reject you, at least you wrote a letter for all the other important people in your life which should make you feel a lot better knowing all that effort wasn’t wasted. It also helps to know how great your friends and family are. Plus, a letter is an easier way to tell someone you like them since you don’t have to get the words out and worry about saying the wrong thing.
  2. Learn how to make something you’ve never made before… like cookies, or chocolate-covered strawberries, or even cupcakes, or chocolate-covered Oreos (you’re in luck because we have a recipe for these below!) All of these treats will be a blast to make, then you can give some of it away to your friends and your crush. You’ll have fun learning how to make something new, and even if your crush doesn’t react the way you want to the gesture….you at least learned something and made other people happy too.
  3. Make a craft like painted mason jars or decorative boxes. Then fill them with candy and attach a Valentine to them. Like these. These make great gifts for your friends and you can also include your crush as a recipient. They might love that you took the time to make something and if it doesn’t work out, crafting is its own reward.
  4. Pizza….but make it heart-shaped. Invite your crush on a pizza date. You can either go get pizza or bring it over for them. Ask the pizza shop to make the pizza into a heart shape (most pizza shops will!) This is totally worth it and if your crush does say yes to pizza, chances are they like you already so you don’t have to worry about being rejected!


Our final Valentine’s Day in college survival advice

No matter what category you fall under, just remember that some people might love Valentine’s Day and others might hate it. But it’s just another day on the calendar, and if you choose some of our methods to make it a good day you won’t be disappointed.

It’s about what you do with what you have and that’s all that really matters. 

In the meantime, enjoy this bonus chocolate covered Oreo recipe as our treat to you and all your survival needs and happy V-Day!


*Bonus chocolate covered oreo recipe

These chocolate covered Oreos are to die for, and so easy to make.

You can get a little fancy and use food coloring to dye white chocolate pink, or just grab some Valentine’s Day sprinkles from the grocery or craft store.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Package of double stuffed Oreos
  • 1 bag of white chocolate chips (or 2 if you’re going to drizzle white chocolate)
  • 1 bag of milk or dark chocolate chips (whichever you prefer)
  • Decorative sprinkles
  • Optional: A few drops of red food coloring to dye white chocolate pink
  • Parchment paper


  1. Melt the white chocolate by placing it in the microwave in a microwavable safe bowl on high for 30 seconds at a time, mixing it each time. The more you mix the more the chocolate will melt. This is crucial so you don’t overheat the chocolate.
  2. Place your Oreo on a fork and dip the entire Oreo into the chocolate, coating entirely.
  3. Take the Oreo out with the fork letting the excess chocolate drip off the Oreo.
  4. Place Oreo on parchment paper and repeat until you have no more white chocolate left.
  5. If using sprinkles, make sure to sprinkle them on the Oreos while the chocolate is still wet so they stick 
  6. Repeat step 1-4 with the milk/dark chocolate.
  7. Place in the refrigerator to harden for at least 15 minutes
  8. Optional: if drizzling white chocolate. Melt 1 cup of chocolate using the same technique as step 1.
  9. Drop a few drops of red food coloring into the white chocolate and start mixing until it turns pink. Remember, you can always add food coloring but you can’t take away so add a little at a time until you have desired result.
  10. Place the melted pink chocolate in a ziplock bag and cut a small tip in the bag to drizzle the chocolate through.
  11. Drizzle the Oreo’s with chocolate as you wish.
  12. Pop back in the refrigerator to harden.
  13. Enjoy!

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Zoe Jones

Zoe Jones

Zoe Jones is a charismatic, happy go lucky writer for College Life Today. She marches to the beat of her own drum. She’s a freelance graphic designer and cartoonist, running her business successfully in the New York Metro Area. She spends most of her time in coffee shops making new friends every day.

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