10 Best College Fair Giveaways That Will Set You Apart (Updated 2024)

Struggling to find recruiting swag for your upcoming college fair? Here are some unique college giveaway ideas to help you attract and engage prospective students.

4 min read

10 Best College Fair Giveaways That Will Set You Apart

College fairs are a vibrant hub of interaction between eager high school students and universities vying for their attention. 

During these events, students can gather valuable information about specific programs, immerse themselves in campus culture, and visit booths where college representatives distribute promotional materials and answer questions.

But with so many institutions in attendance, how do you make yours stand out? Enter unique, attention-grabbing college swag.

College giveaways are more than just free items; they're powerful branding tools that generate lasting exposure even after the fair concludes. The right mix of college swag will draw more foot traffic to your booth, allowing for more interactions and opportunities to communicate what your institution has to offer.

Best College Giveaways and Recruiting Swag 

Here’s our updated list of the best college swag for 2024, taking into account industry trends, recent data on students' preferences, and insights from our customers' orders. These college giveaways help our higher education clients recruit and create meaningful connections with prospective students – and we bet they’ll do the same for you.

Remember – the college admissions process is stressful, and attending these events can be overwhelming. Walking up to a booth, especially when it's a dream school, may be (understandably) intimidating for some students. Giving attendees a special recruitment gift will make their experience more enjoyable and create a positive association with your institution.

1. Bodie Sort Sleeve Branded T-Shirt

Branded-T-ShirtBranded t-shirts are a great way to spread school spirit as they’re the most influential promo product among consumers 18-24 years old, according to the latest ASI Ad Impressions Study.

A simple design with your school’s name and logo is a proven crowd-pleaser. But if you’re looking for a fun way to elevate your college tee, consider redesigning your school's mascot for a fresh and revitalized look. Think about the style preferences of younger generations and infuse vibrant colors and contemporary graphics to make your college swag truly stand out.

Our favorite collegiate apparel is the Bodie Short Sleeve Tee. Available in 12 trendy colors, this unisex shirt fits comfortably on men and women and is made from super soft fabric that students will appreciate.

2. Bluetooth Tracker

Bluetooth-TrackerWith their busy schedules, students are prone to misplacing items. A Bluetooth tracker with your college's branding can be a lifesaver and a constant reminder of your institution. There are many different options for Bluetooth trackers on the market but what sets this item apart is it’s made from recycled post-consumer plastic and biobased materials. 

3. ZipSip® Can Cooler

ZipSip-Neoprene-Can-CoolerA fun and cost-effective giveaway, this can cooler features two zippers that can be adjusted to fit different-sized beverages, from slim cans to long-necked bottles. The versatile features of this item guarantee that it won't be left forgotten in a drawer, but rather put to use. Plus, it offers a large imprint area for you to showcase your college culture.

4. McHenry Wireless Charger

McHenry-Wireless-ChargerTech items are always a hit. This branded wireless charger is the perfect college giveaway for students who rely on their devices. The sleek and portable charger features a built-in LED light that changes color to indicate the charging status of the device. It's compatible with all Qi-enabled devices, so you can be sure that students with the latest and greatest smartphones will be able to use it.

5. Custom Fit Ankle Socks

Custom-Fit-Ankle-SocksSocks might seem like an unconventional choice, but custom-fit ankle socks with your college's logo are a cozy and practical gift that students will love. High school students are known for lounging around in comfy clothing while watching Netflix, so they’ll undoubtedly appreciate having one more item in their relaxation wardrobe. 

6. Little Hippo Insulated Mug

Little Hippo Mug in Multiple ColorsStudents often run on caffeine to keep up with their busy schedules and late-night study sessions. High-quality insulated mugs are practical giveaways that’ll be used frequently, providing brand exposure every time they reach for their beloved beverage. Consider durable mugs that are easy to transport with features that keep drinks warm for extended periods of time. 

Our favorite is the Little Hippo Mug, which features double-wall vacuum insulation and includes a convenient screw-on lid for easy use. It’s proven to keep drinks hot for at least seven hours, and cold for up to 11 hours. 

7. Mason Branded Backpack  

Mason BackpackBranded backpacks are a visible promotional item that students need, making them a great option for college fair giveaways. Custom backpacks can also serve as storage for students to gather various items from different tables during the event. 

Our favorite is the Mason Backpack, which features a zippered main compartment, a side mesh water bottle pocket, and padded shoulder straps. It’s a trending product that's a cut above the minimalist bags other colleges might be handing out. 

Pro Tip:

Tuck a brochure and smaller promotional items into the backpack for students to find later. It’s a great way to delight recipients and keep your school top-of-mind long after they return home from the college fair. 

8. Notebook

Seminar PadNotebooks are still preferred by younger generations, in fact, they’ve become quite the trend. Many students are bullet journaling to keep their to-do lists, calendars, and schedules organized. 

Stay on trend by handing out modern custom notebooks with your college's logo and colors. This seminar pad is a great option for students and an even better branding opportunity for your institution. It features a full-color, wraparound outer cover you can customize with your college name, colors, and mascot. 

9. AeroLOFT™ Jet Black Tech Organizer

AeroLOFT-Organizer-Mesh-PouchStudents often have a lot of gadgets that need to be easily stored in one place. This tech organizer features a mesh front panel so they can easily find their tech essentials when they need them most. Perfect for college fairs, as it easily fits in backpacks and handbags. 

10. Desk Plant

Desk-Plant_Students visit multiple booths during a fair, collecting numerous brochures and promotional materials. If your giveaways look like everyone else's, the chances are that they will be forgotten. That is why it's important to choose something unique and memorable like this desk plant. Each kit includes a mini mug planter, seed packet, peat pellet, and planting instructions. 

Boost Student Recruitment with Custom College Giveaways 

If you want to improve your institution’s promotion and recruitment efforts in 2024, you need to provide students with high-quality products they’ll actually use, not another pen that will be misplaced or thrown away. By offering a mix of desirable college swag, you’ll capture attendees' attention and leave a lasting impression on potential students.

Throughout the years, we’ve worked with hundreds of colleges and universities, helping them find branded merchandise that reflects their school’s culture and resonates with prospective students. And we’re ready to do the same for you.

Get in touch to find, design, and order your recruiting swag before your rivals beat you to it. It’s the perfect way to show potential students that your school is more than just a place to learn: it's a community they can belong to. 

Editor's Note: This post was originally published on August 7, 2014, and has been updated for accuracy and current best practices.

Get actionable marketing and product insights from The LATEST

Find trending college fair swag for your next event. Shop the collection.