College Care Packages

Updated on August 31, 2016
E.T. asks from Rochester, MN
17 answers

My cousin's oldest daughter left for college today. I'd like to send her some small care packages throughout the year. If you have college aged kids, what do they like to receive? I loved getting care packages when I was in college and the homemade goodies my mom sent made me pretty popular! But since I left for college 27 years ago with my electric typewriter, my cassette tapes, and my cassette tape Walkman, I feel a little out of touch. What do college kids like to get? Thanks!

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So What Happened?

Thank you for all of the ideas! I had forgotten the my grandma used to send me holiday decorations for every holiday! Our first package is going to be a nice water bottle filled with chocolate and a couple of fun office supplies we found.

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answers from Harrisburg on

My mom and sister always send my daughter decorations for whatever going on at the time (Halloween, Christmas), as well as some candy/snacks and a little cash. Girl Scout cookies always appreciated when they are available!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I asked this question a few years ago-- you might find the answers helpful. I certainly did and the package was a hit.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Dover on

My son always enjoyed gift cards (like Subway, Chili's, Applebees...somewhere that would be bit of a splurge for someone eating on campus 95% of the time or for everyday items like Walmart or Target since both were close) or gift certificate for his favorite pizza place off campus (image his surprise when I got one for his birthday without him knowing how I managed that!). His favorite homemade cookies or just random snacks (if they ship well).

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answers from Indianapolis on

I like chacha's loungewear idea. Also socks. For some reason in college I went through a lot of socks. She probably has a microwave so cans of soup is good especially during finals when you don't have time to eat. My goddaughter graduated 2 years ago but she said her favorite gift that I gave her was a bath and body wallflower along with 3 fragrances. She said sometimes the smells in the dorms were pretty bad so the wallflower helped.

A VISA gift card is always good so that she can use it wherever. Other food items like cheese crackers, peanut butter, peanuts etc are always good. Another thing I ran out of were razors. You don't want hairy pits and legs in college. Have fun shopping!

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answers from Washington DC on

My "rent-a-kid" (sorry -he's not my son, but close enough!!) just left today for college.

He is on a meal plan with the university. However, I'm sure that money or restaurant gift cards would be a VERY welcome package!

I asked him what I could send him - he asked for his favorite cookies that I make. I'll be making some this weekend and sending them out next week.

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answers from Jacksonville on

Well, my son just left for college, too. I've had nieces precede him. From what I have heard from the nieces, and what I have seen my son get excited about... it's gift cards. Starbuck's. Target. Pizza.
Now, obviously, some homemade cookies are going to be a hit. There's nothing like homemade chocolate chip cookies. Nothing. But tucking a small gift card in with them is like Christmas!

And I say Target, because a lot of the school dorms are not like they were back in my day (a single gym style bathroom down the hall for everyone on the hall to use, and cleaned/maintained by janitorial staff). Today, many of them are like quad apartments, and they are responsible to clean and maintain their own toilets/showers. So, they need cleaning supplies, and toilet tissue. What college kid wants to spend what little cash he/she has on toilet tissue??!!
Not to mention, they have a grocery aisle.

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answers from Boston on

Snacks. Single serving stuff is always good. If there's a super market close to the college and she has transportation maybe a gift card to the grocery store. You could also send something seasonal like fall window clings or pumpkin scented air fresheners. You can also send baked goods like brownies or cookies that she can share with her friends.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Anything that saves them money or gives them a taste of home. The attention, the being remembered, is the biggest part. Home-baked items are great, although I have memories of getting boxes of cookies from my mother, all smashed into crumbs in transit. My roommates and I ate them with spoons. No kidding.

I'd make small and more frequent packages if you can. Snacks and coffee are good (if she has a coffee maker in her room). Most rooms have a microwave if there's something non-perishable that requires heating. Otherwise, small gift cards ($10 is fine) for whatever coffee place is on campus (go to the school website or ask the parents), gift cards for the college bookstore (for supplies, for college-themed items like shirts and wallets are great). I'd send a bookstore gift card in the first shipment if I were you - she'll want something for her college ID, for example. Don't buy the item, though - let her choose it, because you don't know what she already has or what they might give out for free to new students (either the school or the RA). But she can also use the cards for toothpaste and deodorant if she's broke, like most kids are. I'd send comfort foods after about October and also during exam times (midterms and finals). Little packs of cookies or chocolates can be a nice treat when stressed out. If you have money and want to send those cheese/fruit gift sets, those can help with late night study sessions when kids have missed meals but don't want to fill up on dessert/snack things full of empty calories.

They can also use gift cards to Target or Staples, if there's a store nearby and if they have access to an upperclass student with a car.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

This brings back memories!!! My aunt used to send us homemade goodies, popcorn!

Today I know things that are appreciated are $$, restaurant gift cards!!

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answers from Wausau on

Food in any format; mailed treats, grocery gift cards, or a trip to the store when mom comes to visit. Cash money is almost always a need. College kids with cars like getting gas cards. Laundry tokens and/or supplies if applicable.

One time when I was sick, my stepmom express mailed a package with various medications, teas, soup, etc. which was lovely.

Non-consumable objects should either be functional enough to earn the space they take up (like the coffee maker I kept on my dresser) or small enough to not turn into clutter.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

You've got some great responses so far, all of which my nephew enjoys in college.

The only thing I might add for your niece is perhaps a gift card for a nearby drug store so she could pick up those much needed month supplies. Pads and tampons were always a hassle for me wen I was i college and my aunt often sent me drugstore gift cards for this very reason. I found them useful.

Have fun putting the care packages together! I know she'll enjoy getting hem!

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answers from Norfolk on

Cookies and cash. mostly cash. They ALWAYS need money!

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answers from New York on

Fun loungewear (or even underwear) - in dorm life, those items are not just for privacy, girls she is trying to become friends with might see her (even in her underwear, in a shared bathroom, for example)...can't hurt to look fashionable!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Does she have a hobby? Reason I ask is, my niece is into knitting - cool hats, and stuff. She would veg out and knit while she watched shows with friends. So my sister always picked her up supplies - cool yarn she came across, etc. Something 'fun' for her to do.

Food and gift cards - as mentioned below.

My mom used to send me fruit baskets. My mom is a big time health nut, but I will say - my fruit baskets were a hit. She got the really nice ones - I think she was able to do it through the college. The proceeds went towards something - and I got fruit. I don't know if they still do that kind of thing.

** We all sent my nephew funny location magnets for his fridge when he first moved away. So he could post his pictures up of us all and his friends. It became a collection - something people would look at. Things like that, that are fun and you can add to - to tuck into the care package, are fun.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Of course yummy snacks but I also think a movie gift card & a restaurant (subway even, something other than campus food!) gift card are good ideas too. A free break and some fun, ya know. Sometimes you need to just go catch a flick with your BFF.


answers from Dallas on

The funniest thing my college age son has mentioned to me so far is that he hopes that for Christmas I will just buy him all of the stuff I sent with him to college that he's too poor to buy for himself - the "good" shampoo/hair products and bodywash, nice face wash and lotion, laundry detergent, etc. I never thought my son would get excited about me buying him hair products, but that's really what he's most excited about, and he's not a fussy kind of guy. At least Christmas shopping will be easy!


answers from St. Louis on

Food was always the biggest wish my kids had.

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