For college students miles away from home, there’s nothing more meaningful than receiving a care package from friends and family. Whether your favorite student is studying near or far, they’ll appreciate the thoughtfulness of their loved ones. Putting together special college care packages is a creative way to surprise them with things they need or items like framed photos to remind them of home.
Beyond special occasions like holidays and birthdays, school events such as midterms and final exams, notable accomplishments such as securing an internship or playing in a major athletic event, or important transition periods like break-ups or moving in with a new roommate are great opportunities to show your care from afar. Receiving care packages during these significant milestones in their college experience can be very impactful for college students.
We’ve compiled the best and latest ideas to help you build a custom college care package for your favorite student. From dorm decor for first-year students and study supplies for those heading into the exam period, we’ve outlined all of the essentials you’ll need to create the best college care package and ensure the maximum impact on your student’s happiness and morale. As an added plus, you’ll also learn how to tailor college care packages for all of the important occasions related to your student’s academic and social life on campus.
How to Make College Care Packages
As with all gifts, including a heartfelt card or handwritten letter is a great start to an unforgettable care package. Small touches like loving messages or motivational quotes can have a huge impact. School spirit and tailgating items like banners, apparel, or decor are common and useful gifts to include in college care packages. Include a “Class of” college photo frame with their school colors and graduation year to get them excited about making lasting memories at college.
Other everyday items that your favorite college student will love are toiletries. Add some luxury to the communal bathroom experience by sending body scrubs, shower shoes, and comfy towels. Toiletries can be pretty expensive on campus, and your student may not have access to the products they love from home. Additionally, your college student might not have the time, money, or a mode of transportation to get these supplies, so high-use toiletries like body soap, toothpaste, and face wash are a valuable addition to care packages for every occasion.
What to Send in College Care Packages for Freshmen
The first year away from home can be the hardest, so care packages for college freshmen can make a huge difference in their college experience. Let them know how much they’re loved and missed and remind them of how proud you of them are by sending a care package. Even after the first year of college, a care package full of items from local establishments can bring the familiarity of home to a student miles away
Additionally, dorm decor, storage bins, and household items can help your student transform a college dorm into a living space they enjoy spending time in. For students who may need help with the autonomy that college life brings, care packages with medicines, cleaning, or cooking supplies can help make those jobs much easier. For students who miss their pets, pictures of their furry friends in high-quality photo frames can help them cope with the distance.
College Exam Care Packages
Finals week can be busy and stressful for many college students, so letting them know they have your support in reaching their educational goals during this time can go a long way. Any specific items that help your student focus on studying will be beneficial to include in a finals week care package. Office supplies like sticky notes, earplugs, and flashcards will help your student feel prepared and pumped for their exams. Many of these items can be expensive for a student budget, so your gift is sure to be highly prized.
In addition to tools for studying, you can also include healthy snacks and brain foods to help your favorite student make it through this challenging period. Instead of homemade cookies that may skyrocket their blood sugar, consider sending snacks like dried fruits and nuts, beef jerky, whole-grain crackers, and calming teas in a care package for studying.
“Just Because” Care Packages
You don’t need a special occasion to let your favorite college student know that they’re on your mind—brighten their day with a “just because” care package! Sending a college care package as a surprise is a fun gesture that is sure to put a smile on their face. Include a keepsake shadow box to put treasured memories on display and include favorite midnight snacks or homemade baked goods to send a little extra love and care from home.
Get Well Care Packages
Beyond finals week, another important time to send love to your favorite college student is when they’re sick, injured, or simply feeling blue. There’s nothing worse than being away from home when you’re not feeling well, and a soothing “get well” care package is the next best thing. Include over-the-counter medicines, tissues, socks, magazines, first aid kits, soups, and other items that will bring comfort.
Consider sending a get well care package at the beginning of the semester, as your student may not have the time or energy to go to the drugstore and pick up items they need if they become sick or injured unexpectedly. Your college student will appreciate you making sure they have these items on hand whenever they need them.
Birthday Care Packages
Celebrating your birthday away from home can be bittersweet for college students, so sending birthday gifts in the mail is a great way for friends and family to show birthday love to their favorite college student. Make this care package fit for the occasion by lining the box with birthday wrapping paper, filling it with special birthday treats, and tying it off with a bow. Send items like streamers, banners, noisemakers, and party hats, so your student can throw their own birthday party with their roommates! Be sure to include an autograph photo frame, too—this customizable frame will allow for friends and roommates to leave a special birthday message that your college student will cherish for years to come.
Frosted cakes may not do well in the mail, so consider baked goods like banana bread, carrot cake, or birthday cookies instead. The dining hall or student life center may provide special birthday deliveries, so be sure to check if the college offers on-campus deliveries for customized cakes. Alternatively, you may also be able to order a birthday delivery from local bakeries in college towns.
College Care Packages to Send for Holidays
Besides birthdays, holidays are another opportunity to show your favorite college student that you’re thinking of them while they’re away from home. As the leaves change when fall arrives or the first snow of the winter season falls, let your student know that you miss them with a care package full of pumpkin spice, hot cocoa, warm scarves, and their favorite seasonal treats.
You can find a wide variety of inexpensive holiday decor to include in your care package at local dollar stores. In addition to decorations, send traditional items like candy, plastic jack-o’-lanterns, and spooky decorations in college care packages for Halloween. If they’re staying at school through winter break, pick some Christmas stockings, or stuffed animals and chocolates in college care packages for Valentine’s Day.
For any occasion, sending care packages for college students is guaranteed to bring cheer. If you’re short on time, but you still want to send a special and thoughtful gift, consider quick and easy digital options like eGift Cards, video messages, or done-for-you gift baskets for college students.