Most Popular Gift Cards for High School Graduates

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In this article I’ll share the most popular gift cards for high school graduates.

Gift cards are easily the most popular high school graduation gift. 

Well, after cash of course. 

(I wonder if cryptocurrency will become a popular graduation gift instead of cash?)

Anyway, back to gift cards. 

Selecting the right gift card for them can be challenging. There are tons of options and you may not know which stores the frequently shop.

Most of the time people resort to one of the basic, general purpose stores like Target which is a great option. But there are so many other choices out there. 

So, I put together this great big list of the top places high school graduates would love to get gift cards from.

I’ve covered everything from general stores to more niche options based on what they are interested in.

If you want to give a gift card for a high school graduation gift, you’re bound to find one that will work well for you on this list.

Where to Buy Gift Cards for High School Graduation Gifts

If I’m going to be there in person, I’ll usually swing buy the actual store itself and pick up a gift card there. They tend to have cute gift card holders for free so I don’t have to buy one.

The other place I often go for gift cards if I’m looking in person is the grocery store. Most grocery stores have huge displays of gift cards to most major retailers and you can often choose the amount to put on the card.

If I’m going to send the gift card directly to them I still like sending a physical gift card along with a note so I’ll buy the card on Amazon and ship it to them. Yes, you could just email the gift card but opening an email just isn’t that exciting and I’m a huge fan of physically opening gifts.

All of the gift cards listed below are available on Amazon but of course, shop whichever way is best for you.

High school graduation

Popular Gift Cards for High School Graduates

General Gift Cards

If they are headed off to college and will need to load up on supplies a general purpose gift card is a great option. Amazon is my go to store and while in college I shopped there frequently. Most high school students are probably still using their parents Amazon account so maybe this will help them get their own so mom and dad don’t accidentally spend their gift card.

Another place that’s really popular for gift cards is Target. Most high school students will have a Target nearby and it’s loaded with college and apartment focused products. So they’ll be sure to find the stuff they need for whatever life has in store for them after high school.

Walmart is another really popular store for gift card for high school students since they have all the discounted products they may need to furnish their dorm or apartment. Plus they have groceries to help them stay fed.

My last general purpose gift card offers the ultimate in flexibility, and that’s a Visa gift card. These gift cards can be used just about anywhere making it the perfect card for a high school graduation gift. They can use it to help buy college gear, pay for a trip, get repairs on their car, and so much more. It really is one of the best gift cards you could give as a high school graduation gift.

$50 Visa® Balloons Gift Card
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Gift Cards for the Athlete

Whether they’ll be participating in athletics in college or not, these gift cards can help them stay in top shape (and avoid the freshman 15). Whether they’re a runner, flag footballer, yogi, or semi-pro ping pong player, they’re bound to be able to use one of these gift cards.

Nike is my go to for all things running gear since that’s my sport of choice. But they stock gear to cover every sport out there. Nike gift cards can stretch pretty far when you shop their sales. It’s a good option to go with if you know they’d like more workout gear but you aren’t sure what to get.

Adidas is my next go to place for workout gear though I’ll admit to also loving all of their shoes.If your high school grad is constantly rocking the stripes then you should definitely pick up one of these.

Foot locker is another great option though their gear is obviously more focused on shoes. But that means they can pick up the athletic shoes they need along with shoes for trekking across campus or across a remote hiking trail.

If yoga is more their flavor then Lululemon is a fantastic option. I loved taking yoga classes in college and doing yoga as a way to destress from all the homework. Some fresh new yoga gear just might be what they need.

Get 50% off your first month at Gwynnie Bee. No code needed.

[Under Armour is another fantastic option if they’re a fan of their gear.]

Gift cards for high school graduation

Food Gift Cards

Who doesn’t love a good meal. And you could help them stay full with one of these great gift cards for high school graduates. These type of gift cards are often overlooked as a high school gift but I can tell you right now, if someone had hooked me up with a Kroger gift card when I headed off to school I would have been deeply grateful. Not having to worry about paying for food for the first couple of weeks would have been awesome.

Kroger/Albertsons/Whole Foods/whatever grocery store is nearby. These gift cards will go a lot further than the other popular food gift cards listed below which is why I like them.  If they are heading to school be sure to look up and see what’s close to campus so they don’t have to travel far. Nothing would be worse then giving them a gift card only to discover that grocery store doesn’t have nearby locations.

Doordash & Grub Hub: Help them out when those study sessions get late and they need some sustenance ASAP. Doordash and Grub Hub both offer delivery in most cities across the country so they’ll probably have at least a few options to choose from. This way they can treat themselves to their favorite restaurants without being limited to just one place.

Chipotle is one of my favorite places to eat. Chicken burrito bowl with a tortilla on the side and it usually turns into two meals. It’s a college favorite and even has locations on some college campuses.

Dominos (or any other pizza place): Help fund that first apartment party with a gift card to Dominos. Delicious pizza ready in no time. 

Panera is one of my all time favorite breakfast places. I’ll head over, grab a breakfast sandwich, and knockout some work or homework when I was in college. Great food and laptop friendly.

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Gift Cards for Clothing

When they graduate from high school it’s probably time to update the wardrobe. I know I did a bit of a refresh in the clothing department when I went to college. Help your high school graduate with one of these popular gift cards.

Old Navy – Trendy clothes at affordable prices. Maximize how much they are able to get with a gift card to Old Navy. I’m wearing a shirt from Old Navy as I type this so I’m a bit of a fan. I stop by often and pick up a couple of new articles of clothing every so often. It’s a great place for high school grads to shop and pick up new clothes for the next stage of life.

Kohls – This is another one of my go to places for clothing (notice a trend here?). I love the huge selection and I’m always able to find stuff in my size which is nice. Kohl’s has a great rewards program (more Kohl’s cash anyone). 

H&M – A gift card to H&M is a great high school graduation gift. So many great clothing options and styles. H&M is a college student’s dream store. You can’t go wrong with one of these gift cards.

Forever21 – Another place for affordable but trendy clothes. With a Forever21 gift card they’ll be able to completely refresh their wardrobe without busting out the credit card.

Give gift cards or cash for high school graduation

Gift Cards for the Gamer

If you’re shopping for a big time gamer then one of these gift cards for high school graduates is exactly what you need. Plus you’ll completely surprise them because they’ll never expect anyone to get them a Playstation gift card for a high school graduation gift.

Playstation – With a Playstation gift card they can pay for Playstation Plus for a premium membership. Or they can load up on new games. While some parents may not love how much their kids game, it can be a huge way to relax and take a break from the stress of school like it was for many of my friends.

Xbox – Similar to the Playstation gift card, an Xbox gift card can allow them to pick up popular new games. It can also let them pay for Xbox Gold which is required to play online. 

Gamestop – Not sure which platform they actually use? Pick up a gift card to Gamestop and let them pick up new games, consoles, and other accessories as they need them.

Roblox – There’s a solid chance you’ve never heard of Roblox but it’s one of the most popular games around. It has a massive following so if your high school grad is a fan definitely gift them a gift card. They can use it to buy in game upgrades and products.

Tech Gift Cards

Apple – If they have an iPhone then you’re pretty much guaranteed to win if you get them an Apple gift card. They’ll love you forever. The real challenge is deciding how much to put on the gift card since most Apple products are priced high. If you can, I recommend at least a couple hundred dollars if they’ll be picking up a tablet or computer to take to college.

Best Buy – If you want to help them out with a computer purchase a gift card to Best Buy is one of your best options (no pun intended). They have a massive selection and stock a ton of gear most college students need. It is likely why this is such a popular gift card for high school graduates.

Group of high school graduates

Other Gift Cards for High School Graduation

Here’s a few other random gift cards that I think make for great high school graduation gifts.

Ulta or Sephora – Help them keep their makeup and skincard game on point with a gift card to Ulta. Of course if they’re deep in the Sephora rewards program you may want to pick up a Sephora gift card instead.

Starbucks – Do I really need to spell out why this is a great gift card for high school graduates?

Lyft and Uber – Help them out in a pinch when a car isn’t an option with a gift card to Lyft or Uber. This can be an especially great gift if they are headed to college without a car.

Fandango – While we may not be hitting movie theaters quite as often post Covid, a gift card to Fandango is still a great gift for a high school graduate. Movie tickets are expensive and it’s likely going to continue to be a popular activity for college students.

How to Give a Gift Card

Most places that sell gift cards also sell cute little packages to fit the gift card in. But if they don’t, you can find some great gift card cards/holders on Amazon that are really inexpensive. 

 You should also give some kind of note when giving a gift card. Include some kind of personal message to the high school graduate. You could even share why you bought them that particular gift card.

The Top 3 Gift Card Holders

Here’s 3 great gift card holders you can use to gift any of the gift cards mentioned above.

I’ve written several other articles on high school grad gift ideas so if you’re looking for more, check these out:






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