8 Creative Swag Ideas for College Students

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Explore Unique and Compelling College Swag Ideas That Empower Your Students

hofstra college swag for students

Branding is HUGE for colleges, and student swag is a powerful way to bring organic awareness to your brand. Positive branding helps every facet of the school: academics, sports, enrollment, recruiting, endowments, image, alumni membership, etc. It is the public “SPIRIT” of your campus.

Your best ambassadors for marketing and branding are current and prospective students. If they are wearing a t-shirt or sporting a product with your school logo on it, they are positively spreading your brand. They are displaying it to your main audience, their peers. It’s premium advertising that is spontaneous.

If you're looking for creative and effective college swag ideas, below we share real-world examples of swag concepts used by some of the top universities and schools.

College Student Swag: USC Case Study

usc tshirt swag for college students

“I want to put your T-shirt on!” Inspire that feeling in a student and you have a terrific agent for your school. BookWear® can help with that. We print your logo on a shirt and compress the shirt it into a little brick of cotton. Your graphics and message get printed on what looks like a book cover and the compressed shirt goes inside.

It looks like a book but obviously has something other than pages inside. Your message gets connected to a TANGIBLE college swag item that's worn and remembered. That’s important. Every time that shirt is worn that recipient is reminded of the surprising package and your message. And they’re parading your brand in front of everyone they see.

Mail BookWear like a postcard, or we’ll mail it for you. Look at the back of the USC “book” cover above. It’s designed as a mailing label. It gets sent to 6,000 accepted students every year. USC has ordered it for 17 years in a row. That’s a lot of campus ambassadors showing off their brand!

8 College Swag Ideas for Inspiration

BookWear offers endless creative swag ideas for college students. Here are eight concepts to inspire your college recruiting strategy, orientation efforts, or college fair presence.

1. T-Shirt in a Book

princeton tshirt, orange lettering, bookwear cover

T-SHIRT in a “BOOK”! This is a fun way to get a t-shirt into the hands and onto the body of prospective students. The shirt is printed with your logo and then compressed into a little brick of cotton. It’s then inserted into a “book” cover. The front cover, spine, and back cover of the book is customized with your graphics and message.

When the recipient gets this, they will read your message and open it! It creates surprise and mystery. It adds incentive to put the shirt on and identify with your brand. The message is often “Welcome to Campus!” or “Congratulations on Your Acceptance!” Make a splash with your message in the creative BookWear package. Mail BookWear like a thick postcard, or we’ll mail it for you.

2. Sunglasses in a Book

UGA sunglasses college student swag idea

“Your future is so bright you’ll need shades!” That could be the title to this little book, and an attention-grabbing recruiting giveaway to prospective students. The book cover gets your graphics and text on it and inside is a pair of sunglasses customized with your logo. Cool! Your message gets seen and so does your brand. You design the book cover or we’ll do it for you.

3. Flag in a Book

green flag swag for wayne state college students

Raise a flag for campus spirit. This is a great gift for an incoming student. Your logo will look good on either the 12” x 18” small flag or the 22” x 36” large flag. A full-color print on the book and the flag is included. Polyester fabric with two grommets on the left side for hanging the flag. Get your message out there in style! This will do it.

4. Custom Puzzle in a Book

purdue engineering astronaut puzzle swag for college studnets

“You’re the Missing Piece” could be the title of this book, especially if it’s a capital campaign seeking donors. The puzzle is a full color image of your choice. Purdue used it to commemorate the groundbreaking of a new engineering building. Use it for a capital campaign by mailing it to potential donors. We can insert additional info cards or products inside with the puzzle.

5. Custom Socks in a Book

spears business school socks swag for college student

Get your marketing and recruiting promotion off on the right foot. The book cover has your message and graphics on it. The recipient doesn’t know what’s inside and is compelled to read and open it, making it a very effective communications tool. The socks and book cover are fully customizable. The front cover, spine, and back cover of the book are yours to design. Then mail it like a thick postcard to your list. Or we’ll mail it for you.

6. Pillow Case in a Book

dream big pillow case

Dreams made real. This little book/gift combination puts your message on a tangible package. Your brand is printed on the 20” x 30” pillowcase as well as your graphics and text on the book cover. This story and gift are surprising and real, making your message stand out. It’s novel and creative.

7. Luggage Tag in a Book

assortment of branded college luggage tags

Travel the world in style with an embroidered luggage tag on your bag. This one is embroidered on the front and has a clear pocket on the back for a card with contact information. It’s easily seen and comes with a rubberized attachment loop. The recipient will remember your message and this “book” for a long time.

8. Surprise in the Bag

lakehill prep school popcorn bag

Whether it’s marketing, fundraising, or college recruiting, this package literally “POPS!”. It has a customized bag of microwave popcorn inside. Put a “Pop Quiz” on the bag with instructions to find answers on your website. That drives traffic to your site, especially if there’s a prize offered. This makes a unique, fun and surprising package that is sure to be read and opened.

Effective College Swag Giveaways

College student swag giveaways can empower a university’s recruitment strategy and stimulate the potential to acquire quality students. As an ideal supplement to any school’s admissions strategy, student swag giveaways provide a tangible means to engage with prospective college students and make them feel as one with the university.

assorted bookwear gifts for college recruiting
“Surprise is the most powerful marketing tool.” Harvard Business Review

The most effective swag ideas for college students are not only practical items, but surprising and meaningful gifts that contain inspiring, uplifting, and motivating messages.

If something like this seems like the ideal supplement to recruit more college students, then consider BookWear college giveaways to be one of the best investments you’ll ever make.

Why BookWear for College Student Swag?

calvin college branded shirt and book cover

Don’t settle for run-of-the-mill swag ideas for college students. New and prospective college students love t-shirts and promotional products emblazoned with a logo, especially of universities and college campuses.

And those college campuses love having students and prospective students parading around publicly with their logo on display. Such swag ideas strike an emotional connection with college students, and they make for terrific marketing, recruiting, and orientation giveaways for colleges and universities!

For more ideas, see University & College Case Studies.

Learn More About BookWear

To explore how BookWear® can help with building and sharing your own unique ideas, contact us for more information and ordering by sending an e-mail to info@bookwear.net

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