Student Life

Create The Ultimate College Care Package

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By: Rhiannon Winner, Uloop

Students find college rewarding for many reasons. Some appreciate the independence it grants them, others are grateful for study abroad opportunities, and still more take comfort in studying something they love. College has something to offer for everyone, but every student knows that one of its greatest benefits is the occasional care package from home!

Your student will love getting a care package no matter what it contains, but you should try to craft a package with everything your student needs (and maybe a little bit that they don’t). Make sure to include the suggestions below to create the ultimate college care package!


Yeah, you pay for that overpriced meal plan so your student shouldn’t be going hungry, but that’s not always how things work out. If they need a snack between classes or are up late finishing a paper, or even if they just don’t want to leave their room, it’s nice to have some spare food around.

Send a mix of long-lasting meals such as ramen, treats such as their favorite candies, and perishables that will survive a trip through the mail. If you’d prefer, you can include a gift card to a local place where your student likes to eat. This is easy with chain restaurants, but if their favorite place in town happens to be the only one of its kind, stop by next time you’re in town in secret. They definitely won’t be expecting a gift card to their favorite local haunt, but they’ll certainly appreciate it!

Forgotten items

Maybe it isn’t quite a gift, but your student will be grateful if you include in your care package any items they’ve forgotten at home. When they were frantically packing at the end of summer or over a shorter break, your student might have left behind something they don’t necessarily need but want. Receiving it in the mail is a nice way to brighten their day.

That cute teddy bear, favorite piece of jewelry, or whatever treasured possession was left behind will bring a smile to their face, especially as it was nonessential and they probably weren’t expecting you to send it.

Get-well kit

College dorms are like petri dishes. Your student is going to get sick, and quite often at that. Make their coming illnesses a little more bearable by including some medication and anything else you think might help them through a cold.

Stock them up on Tylenol or NyQuil if they’re missing any such medications, but also include some of their favorite home remedies, like honey for a sore throat or a certain flavor of cough drops. Send along cans of their favorite soup, teas, and anything else that might help them get through a rough day.

Holiday supplies

The holidays can seem practically nonexistent in college. Without jack-o-lanterns or Christmas trees or other holiday decorations, it can seem as if they’ll never come. Send your student fun holiday decorations or food to help make it seem like the holidays really have arrived! Look for small decorations that your student can easily fit in their room or on their door.

Remember, depending on what you send, they may have to store the decorations as well. They should ideally be collapsible or small enough to be tucked out of the way. If you send food around the holidays, try to put a holiday twist on it. Send cookies in the shapes of snowmen or Christmas trees, Halloween candy, treat-filled Easter eggs, or any other foods your student might like.

Hobby supplies

Your student probably doesn’t have much free time. When there are so few chances to really engage in their hobbies, the moments they do have to spare become infinitely more precious. Indulge your child by sending along supplies to help them enjoy their favorite hobbies.

If they are a fan of music, consider sending along an iTunes gift card or a new album by a band they like. If they’re into sports, include a couple of sporting magazines. Whatever your child’s passion, there’s something out there that will fit nicely in your care package.


College students all need to goof off sometimes. Include some fun toys to help them de-stress, such as Play-Doh, stress balls, small sports supplies like Frisbees or baseballs, adult coloring books, or card games. These might not be supplies that your student ever considered buying for themselves, but will enjoy nonetheless.

Just make sure that you’re not sending them a copy of a game or anything else that they might already have at school. Ideally, you should look for items that they can share with friends. Your student probably won’t always want to de-stress by themselves.

Putting together the ultimate college care package requires a bit of forethought. Focus on diversifying the gifts included and personalizing it for your student, and they’ll be sure to love it!

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