Welcome new students to your campus and encourage them to stay with unique promotional giveaways.

Incoming and prospective students will immediately feel at home with gifts featuring your college logo or slogan. Everyone wants to belong so start each students’ college life with an inviting gift that immediately draws them in.

College marketing is big business

With nearly 18 million U.S. students enrolling in college each year, the competition to lure them to your campus is huge. Reaching out to college-bound freshmen early puts you in the driver’s seat to build trust and loyalty to your brand.

Colleges around the world spend billions marketing themselves to new students, according to The Hechinger Report. Higher education institutions now pay up to $623 per student each year for branding. With student decline in the last 10 years, it’s financially essential for colleges to do everything they can to recruit candidates.

promotional items with school logo and mascot

Promotional products are a valuable marketing tool for colleges in three ways:

First, customized college giveaways are historically effective for drawing students. Secondly, they help foster unity across campus. Lastly, college promotional items, which are often kept for years, turn students into lifelong ambassadors for their alma mater. This can boost alumni donations, entice even more students and build prestige for your university.

A study by education consultant Ruffalo Noel Levitz revealed that direct marketing, such as the use of promotional items, is more effective than content marketing, online ads and billboard advertising. To put it simply, a young adult might forget something he/she reads online or while driving down the road, but not the name printed on a useful product seen and used nearly every day.

When to hand out giveaways for college students

One of the first things you must do is develop a plan to hand out your branded college giveaways. This will help you decide how many items you’ll need for a successful marketing campaign.

Keep in mind the main goal of giveaways is to entice new students and keep those already enrolled. However, promotional giveaways also can be used as incentives for achievements and gifts for your teaching staff.

Here are just a few ideas for distributing college swag:

  • Include them in college visit packets
  • Pass them out during student orientation
  • Use them as rewards for top student achievement
  • Distribute them during sporting events, art shows and job fairs
  • Give them away to enhance fundraisers
  • Use them as Christmas gifts for your staff
  • Designate them as prizes for student contests

What do you put in goodie bags for college students?

Impress your new recruits by giving them practical gifts. Small, customized giveaway items are most popular since students typically have limited space for personal items in dorms or shared apartments. Avoid cheap knick-knacks that will almost certainly end up in the trash.

Top 9 promotional giveaways for college students

1. Logo T-shirts

custom red t-shirt with school logo

Most popular giveaways:
Gildan® Heavy Cotton T-Shirt
Gildan® Ultra Cotton T-Shirt
Gildan® Heavy Cotton Ladies’ T-Shirt
Hanes® ComfortSoft 100% Cotton T-Shirt

2. Custom can coolers & Koozies®

custom slim can coolers for college

Most popular giveaways:
Premium Foam Can Cooler
Neoprene Collapsible Can Cooler
Collapsible Foam 12 oz. Slim Can Cooler
Premium Foam Can Cooler – Full Color Digital

3. Customizable phone chargers & power banks

custom tech items for schools and colleges

Most popular giveaways:
Mobile Accessory Kit
Charge-It-Up Power Bank
Portable UL Listed Power-It-Up Charger

4. Branded notebooks & journals

school logo notebooks and journals

Most popular giveaways:
5″x7″ Daily Notebook
Translucent Spiral Notebook
Natural Eco Notebook With Pen
Pocket Neon Sticky Flags

5. Promotional pens

promotional pens for schools

Most popular giveaways:
Bex Click Pen
Rudy Click Pen
Ledwedge Pen
Translucent Hand Sanitizer Pen

6. Bulk drawstring bags

black custom drawstring bag with university logo

Most popular giveaways:
Polypropylene Drawstring Bag
Polyester Drawstring Bag 14″x18″
Everyday Drawstring Bag
Polyester Drawstring Bag 17″x20″

7. Custom printed hats

promotional hat with custom school logo

Most popular giveaways:
Economy Cotton Twill Cap
Acrylic Knit Beanie – Embroidered
Economy Cotton Twill Cap – Embroidered

8. Custom water bottles

custom navy water bottle with school mascot and logo

Most popular giveaways:
20 oz. Colored Plastic Sports and Bike Bottle
20 oz. Aluminum Water Bottle
28 oz. Translucent Travel Bike Bottle
16 oz. Insulated Stainless Steel Tumbler

9. Personalized lanyards

custom lanyards with your design here

Most popular giveaways:
3/4″ Economy Polyester Lanyard
1″ Economy Polyester Lanyard
3/4″ Polyester Lanyard
3/4″ Lanyard – Full Color Sublimated

Customization options for college swag

Totally Promotional can print just about anything you want on your giveaways for college students. We can place your college logo or mascot on most items if we receive written permission to use your licensed trademarks.

Please read our policy on trademarks. We can also print your college motto or inspirational messages such as “Believe you can and you’re halfway there” by President Theodore Roosevelt.

Every item we offer has its own unique product and imprint colors, size and style selection. You’ll find all that information and much more as you browse our great promotional product selection online. Many of our products include free standard delivery and options for rush production and delivery.

Special product or printing requests can be submitted during the online ordering process or by using our Live Chat service. If you have further questions you can contact us at 1-866-795-4657.

brand within your budget with promo items under one dollar

Shelley Grieshop is a former newspaper journalist who earned more than a dozen Associated Press awards for her in-depth research and writing skills. In May 2016, she joined Totally Promotional as a creative writer. She currently writes company blogs about branding, marketing, logos, wedding planning and much more. One of her life goals is to teach people when to use hyphens and apostrophes.

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