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It seems like they were just starting kindergarten yesterday and in the blink of an eye, they're already off to their freshman year on campus.
The transition from high school to college isn't always easy, especially for those who chose to go to a university further away from home. Let them know you're thinking of them during this new life chapter with a college care package that's sure to put on a smile on their face upon arrival. They're perfect to send as a start-of-semester boost, a pick-me-up during final exams or just a sweet surprise in between busier stretches.
Shop TODAY found a few ready-to-send care package options that can be shipped right to their door — er, university mail room. Or, if you want to take a more personalized approach and create a college care package from scratch, we listed a few essential items you won't want to forget.
College care package ideas
Take their love for snacks to the next level with this 45-piece snack box that has everything from chips to candy. There's even a few healthy options thrown in there so Mom & Dad don't have to worry about that. At $26, it's the perfect gift to send at the start and end of the year. A treat to wish them well as they begin this new journey and another to wish them luck as they trudge through final exams.
There's bound to be a few things that are forgotten in the madness of trying to get everything for their first dorm. This handmade Etsy gift box will help fill in a few of those missing essentials with the potential to include laundry detergent, dish soap, dryer sheets, candy, pens and more!
Every college student will agree: there's no such thing as too many snacks. Keep their collection stocked with the yummiest goodies from this ready-to-send package of snacks from Gourmet Gift Baskets. It has something for every craving, from savory pepperoni pizza pretzels to Haribo gummies that'll satisfy their sweet tooth.
There's always some sort of cold going around the first few weeks living on campus. Send them this package that has all of the essentials they need to get them through it. It includes six (what the brand calls) make-everything-feel-better cookies — choose from chocolate chip, triple chocolate chunk, snickerdoodle, oatmeal raisin, lemon or ginger spice — along with a trio of teas, raw honey, fuzzy socks, Vick's VapoRub, cough drops, tissues and a personal note from you. It'll help them get back to full health in no time.
They'll be spending a lot of time at their desk burning the midnight oil on their studies. This box will help them curate an aesthetically-pleasing desk setup that has everything they need from tech wipes to a notepad where they can keep track of big deadlines or leave reminders for themselves.
If they're not feeling physically sick but are a little homesick, this care package of comforting soups and cookies will make the transition easier. The package comes with 64 ounces (about 4-6 servings) of your soup of choice — chicken and wild rice, garden vegetable or tomato basil — alongside six rolls, six chocolate chip cookies, a serving ladle and a personal note from you to make them smile. If gluten isn't a concern, you can opt for the gluten-filled version.
Help them decompress with this care package that has everything they need to create the most calming night in. They can snuggle up in their fuzzy socks and blanket while filling in their new coloring book and sipping one of three "soothing" teas.
What to put in a care package for college students
While they're probably used to hygiene essentials being magically replenished at home, there's a high chance they'll forget about having to do it themselves when they're on their own. A four-pack of toothpaste will keep them well-stocked for the entire year so they don't ever have to worry about making an emergency run to the store with a serious case of morning breath.
Body wash is another thing they can never have too much of. Buying individual bottles whenever they run out can be pricey, so this Dove four-pack that rings in at just $16 is a win for both you and them.
Between kitchen mishaps and general clumsiness (same), everyone should have a comprehensive first aid kit on hand. This one has everything from the standard bandages, gauze and wipes to Tylenol and Neosporin.
Whether they don't know how to cook or just don't have time to make traditional stove-top meals, this microwave pasta pot can easily become their go-to product. Just add their favorite pasta and water, pop in the microwave, strain via the lid, add their favorite sauce and voila! A quick, easy and cheap meal in minutes.
If they like to keep their emotional support water bottle with them at all times, this JanSport holder is a must. It'll keep them hands free while their bottle is secured in its little pouch and the bag even has a rear pocket they can drop their phone or wallet into.
For the prescription or blue light-blocking glasses wearer, lens wipes are a staple to keep at their desk. This no. 1 bestseller has over 43,000 verified five-star ratings on Amazon. Each box comes with 210 individually-packaged wipes so they can slip a few in their book bag or glasses case to make sure they have crystal-clear quality every time.
Dorm living is all about having the snacks on deck. Take it one step further with this box of fruit snacks that you can personalize with their name on the box. It's a fun take on a nostalgic snack that most everyone grew up eating (and some of us never stopped).
Sometimes all they need to get them through the adjustment period is a little taste of home. Send them a city- or state-themed Homesick candle to transport them to a familiar place as they get settled in their new home.
A multi-pack of phone chargers is a must for any college student. These 10-foot-long cords are perfect for lofted or raised beds.
Give them a little reminder of home and lumbar support at the same time. They can use this as decoration on their bed or for a bit of cushioning as they spend long nights at their desk.
Instead of constantly having to buy more and more disposable storage bags, make life a little easier for them by sending these one-and-done Stasher bags. They're reusable silicone storage bags that they can wash and use over and over again. They're also perfect for packing lunch on busier days or keeping a snack on hand for long lectures.
For most college students, this is the first time they'll be doing laundry on their own. That being said...there's bound to be a few mishaps, whether that's things coming out pink or the dryer mysteriously eating socks. In any case, send them some fresh pairs before any trouble actually occurs.
Don't underestimate the power of a good gift card! They're likely to appreciate this more than anything else. An Amazon gift card gives them the ability to order any decor or other essentials they may have forgotten in the packing process.
Many colleges and universities have a book store on campus that's partnered with Barnes & Noble. They can use this gift card to cover a portion of their textbook costs or start stocking up on school merch.
Whether they've run out of deodorant or just want to treat themselves, you can't go wrong with a Target gift card.
Support their current or budding caffeine habits with a Starbucks gift card. They'll definitely put it to good use during all-nighters around final exam time (if they don't already use it by then).