Care Package Ideas for College Students

Useful, Helpful, and Thoughtful Care Package Ideas

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Creating a useful care package for a college student can be a challenge. There are so many things you think they will need, others they actually will need, and still others that neither of you may think about.

Whether your student is living in a dorm, frat house, or their own apartment, this list includes useful, essential and thoughtful items that they may need or want to receive while away at school.

Use it as a starting point to help you fill that empty box. Once you get started, more ideas will come. If you run out of space, save them for next month's care package. They will love receiving a taste of home more often than you think.

Food Items for Care Packages

Quick snacks, microwaveable meals, and a few goodies are perfect for the busy college student. These are all items that they could pick up at the local store or vending machine, but even those small purchases can add up quickly and take a big bite out of their tight budget.

When you are at the store, pick up a few extra items to send to your student. Of course, if they have a personal favorite, include those as well. 

Make sure the food is non-perishable and will ship well. Bottles of soda or juice could leak and you can include a gift card so they can pick those up themselves.

Quick Snacks

  • Potato chips
  • Corn Chips
  • Pretzels
  • Microwave popcorn

    Microwavable Meals

    • Ramen noodles
    • Canned pasta meals
    • Mac and Cheese
    • Instant oatmeal

    Sweet Treats

    • Cookies
    • Mints
    • Gum
    • Candy bars or other chocolate

    Drink Mixes

    • Tea
    • Coffee
    • Hot cocoa

    Personal Items for Care Packages

    Young adults may not have your bargain shopping skills and will probably end up paying more for the everyday items.

    Include a few of these essentials in the care package and save them a trip to the store.

    The Essentials

    • Shower soap or hand soap
    • Shampoo and conditioner
    • Hairspray, gel, or their favorite hair styling product
    • Tampons or feminine napkins
    • Hand sanitizer
    • Deodorant
    • Lotion
    • Toothpaste
    • Toothbrush

    Shower Accessories

    • Shower shoes
    • Towel
    • Washcloth
    • Toothbrush holder

    Special Items

    • Makeup or a gift certificate that lets them stock up on their own.
    • Contact lens solution or eyeglass cleaner

    School Supplies

    They are in school, after all, and these supplies are essential for completing their work.

    • Pen
    • Pencil
    • Paper – lined or plain
    • Notebooks
    • Sticky notes
    • Highlighters

    Other Items for Care Packages

    There are a number of other items that almost every college student needs. A few are useful in the dorm or apartment and ones that young adults may not think about picking up at the store. Others are simply thoughtful additions that will warm their heart and remind them how much you love them.

    Useful Items

    • Roll of quarters for the laundry room.
    • Laundry detergent
    • Fabric softener
    • Paper towels
    • Napkins
    • Dish soap
    • Dishcloth
    • All-purpose spray cleaner
    • Air freshener
    • Trash can liners

    Items That Say, "I'm thinking of you."

    • Recent magazine
    • Recent hometown newspaper
    • Motivational book
    • Devotional book
    • Pictures of recent event
    • Photo album
    • Letters and drawings from younger siblings
    • Video of family sending their love
    • Holiday decorations

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