What to Do for Kid Going off to College

Updated on July 29, 2011
T.K. asks from Grand Prairie, TX
17 answers

My beloved step son is moving 4 hours away to college next week. What kind of send off should we give him? We usually celebrate family events with a meal and presnts and everyone gets together. We just had a graduation party where we had a cake and balloons and presents. We gave him money and gift cards to outfit his dorm apartment. For his birthday and Christmas I had bought him tshirt, hat, and sweatshirt for his new school. What kind of send off should we have for him? Home cooked meal? Favorite restraunt? GIfts again? Or is that redundant after just having the grad party? I know for sure I am going to frame some pictures of his little brother and sister for his new apartment. And I'm going to Sam's to buy him some bulk items like TP, papertowels, mac n cheese, Malt O Meal, Ramen, cereal etc. He has a meal plan since the apartments are owend by the university and run like dorms. But, I think he will need things in the cabinet for when he doesn't feel like going to campus to eat. What else? How are you sending yours off to college? Oh and its an actual apratment complex - big luxury complex. Not your traditional cinder block dorms. He has a full kitchen. It has a nice workout facility. Pools, hot tub, even a tanning bed. These kids have it good now a days.

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So What Happened?

ok, so, now im thinking Chilis, $50, the framed pictures, and a big hug. He doesn't live with us, so, I know he already has a mom to do all this mothering. I guess I try too hard sometimes. But, I will plan to buy in bulk and take a trunk load whenever we visit him. I remember when I was in school, the end of the semester, when financial aid ran out, things got really tight, so, I'll wait. I don't think he will have room in his car for all this now that I think it through!

Featured Answers



answers from Kansas City on

when I was in college, I always needed gas money. Maybe a gift card to QT or something would help out.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I would maybe make a little book of his favorite recipes, if he ever wants to make a meal or something as well.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Austin on

He is a big boy now.. If he needs anything, HE can go and purchase it.. If you want to send him with anything consider gift cards to the local Grocery store, Target or Walmart..

Each year our daughter has left for college the weeks before, we pick a night to ask her to decide , "where do you want to eat before you leave?".. She usually picks a Mexican Food Place, an Asian Restaurant, her favorite burger place and her favorite sandwich place.. We also ask if there is anyone she would like to have join us or family she wants to see before she leaves..

It is hard to send her so far away, but we keep it together for her sake and just tell her we know she is going to do her best. She also knows if she really needs something she can call, email or skype us.

You are fortunate you all are so close.. Our daughter is over 2000 miles from us once she leaves in August, we will see her at Christmas and then again when she graduates in the spring.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

-A note about how proud you are of him that he can read once he gets there.
-A picture of all of you (great when he is homesick)
-Sewing kit
-Black markers
-First aid kit
-A blanket throw
-TP, paper towels
-Starbucks gift card for all of those late nights studying
-Gas gift card if he is taking his car.
-Besdie table lamp
-flashlight (those small ones)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Bathroom cleaning supplies.
He WILL have to clean his own bathroom now, if he knows how.

He is only 4 hours away
I am SURE, he can buy whatever he needs.
And if not, that is a learning experience.
He has to learn to take care of himself... and think ahead.
For example: buying toilet paper, BEFORE it actually runs out.

Do not go overboard.... or it 'might' be embarrassing for him, still being treated like a child... in front of the others.

He will be fine.

I assume, he has some kind of money/bank account? That he knows how to use? He'd need money.

And, he.will.not.starve.

College kids, will not starve.
And he has a meal plan.
Good enough.
He can fend for himself.
Only he will know, what he wants to eat and when and when not.
And, college kids eat at ALL hours.
He, will.not.starve.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Bloomington on

I would say any thing he NEEDS. He won't have a lot of space probably. So a little extra money maybe, or plates/silverware type stuff.

But I really don't know.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Just a little note to say I am not sending mine yet, but - how awesome! I love your idea of a family meal and the "must haves" for a guy - ahem - FOOD:)
one thing my girlfriends and I did was get together for dessert/dinner at someones house - these were my close gal pals - my devotianal group - we all toasted our success with mint chocolate chip or whatever and had a little bible study and scripture verse share time for one last "re-charge" before we went off to the next step. It was so much fun we did it every year for the first four years and after that some were off and graduated and actually working so we kind of stopped then:)
So maybe starting a friend ritual at your house could be fun in addition to the family stuff.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Bedding, towels, toiletries, trash can, bulletin board, lamp, printer paper, storage crates, laundry stuff, poster sticky tack for hanging things (you can't use nails or real tacks)...

As for his last days in town, ASK him what he wants to do. Maybe his favorite meal, trip to best restaurant, home movies, family game night... whatever he would like to have a nice memory of.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Albany on


And plenty of it!


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Well, I won't be doing that for another 10 years, but when I was at school my grandmother always sent me CHANGE--for the laundry, vending machines, etc. Really came in handy, I tell you!

Does he have a cell phone?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

How does the laundry work there? Do they have a card to swipe or do the machines use quarters? I remember my mom always sent me a roll of quarters for the machines.

As for the send off, ask him what he wants. I'd think a favorite meal of home cooking would be nice since he won't be getting that in a while. And perhaps his favorite cookies or something to take along. During the meal, you could each say what you'll miss most about him.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

What I loved from my mom was periodic packages in the mail, esp anything homemade: - )

Maybe asked if he's like homecooked or favorite restaurant. Maybe giving him a reflection letter, about him growing as you know him to the man he is becoming.

The first few months of college can be difficult for some, something that can't be prevented, but love/reminders of home can help.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Spokane on

Perhaps you can ask him what if anything he would like to do/eat with the family before he moves that distance away. That way it can be things he likes and be about him as a special way to send him off.



answers from San Diego on

Dint forget, cold meds, allergy, cough, fever, and other first aid stuff! Nothing like being away from home the first time you get the flu!



answers from Chicago on

make him a laundry basket. go to a dollar store and buy a square basket (this is easier to put folded clothing in than a round one) inside it put a big bottle of laundry soap, a box of bounce, some shout and a package of hangers. add to that a roll of quarters. before he leaves teach him how to do his laundry.


answers from Wichita on


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