IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

College students love a care package — here are 8 ready-to-send options

Or you can build your own with essentials like socks, body wash, gift cards and more.
Westend61 / Getty Images

It seems like they were just starting kindergarten yesterday and in the blink of an eye, they're already off to their first 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

Natural Life Happy Box Gift Set

They'll appreciate a little pick-me-up during tougher stretches and this care package with inspirational quotes is sure to put a smile on their face. Each box comes with six to eight trinkets and the box itself can be used as storage once emptied. You can choose from 10 different designs.

LA Signature Ultimate Snacks Care Package

Filled with 40 different snacks that'll satisfy any craving they have, this care package is a steal for just $26. Don't be surprised if they ask for another one!

College Care Package of Snacks

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.

Brain & Grain Healthy College Care Package

If your student is a big snacker, this care package will keep them satisfied during long nights away from home. It's filled with sweet and savory bites alongside a few stress toys they can fidget with to decompress between assignments.

Spoonful of Comfort Mini Sick Day Care Package

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, confetti or vegan, gluten-free chocolate chip — along with a trio of teas, raw honey, fuzzy socks, cough drops, tissues and a personal note from you. It'll help them get back to full health in no time.

BoxFox Hustle Gift Box

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.

Spoonful of Comfort Gluten-Free College Care Package

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, tomato basil or vegetable and chicken and wild rice combo — 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.

Spoonful of Comfort Peace and Pampering Care Package

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

Welch's Color Your World Fruit Snacks

Dorm living is all about having the snacks on deck. And you can't go wrong with fruit snacks! This box from Welch's has a box that can be colored in when they're feeling creative, bored or just want to feel like a little kid again. It's a fun take on a nostalgic snack that most everyone grew up eating (and some of us never stopped).

10-Foot iPhone Charger Cables

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.

Care Touch Pre-Moistened Lens Cleaning Wipes

For the prescription or blue light-blocking glasses wearer, lens wipes are a staple to keep at their desk. This option has over 68,000 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.

Colgate Total Toothpaste

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.

Earth Breeze Laundry Detergent Sheets

Their first time away from home is also probably their first time navigating laundry on their own. These laundry sheets will make the process easier by eliminating any confusion that may come with measuring out traditional liquid detergent.

Celesport Ankle Athletic Running Socks

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.

Blue Bottle Samra Origins Craft Instant Coffee Single Serve

They might not have room in their dorm for a full coffee bar setup but that doesn't mean they need to settle for a sub-par brew. Created in partnership with singer The Weeknd, this instant coffee carries notes of berry compote, toffee and lemon that are ready-to-drink with just a bit of hot water.

Johnson & Johnson All-Purpose First Aid Kit

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.

Zeiss Dry Eye Relief Warm Eye Masks

Whether they wear contacts or just spend a lot of time staring at screens — or both, if they're like me — these warm eye masks will come in handy to provide some relief to their dry, tired eyes. They come individually packaged and self-heat when opened. The brand says they only need to be worn for 15 minutes so they're perfect for study breaks.

Willa's Oat Milk Discovery Pack

Premium groceries are a luxury in college so they'll appreciate this assortment of oat milks from Willa's. The set comes with three flavors — original, barista and dark chocolate — that are perfect for everything from cereal to making lattes. Paired with the instant coffee above, they can make café-quality coffee in minutes!

Starbucks 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).

Dove Deep Moisture Body Wash

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.

Winston Porter Ohlone Virginia Hook Wool Lumbar Pillow

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.

Microwave Pasta Pot

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.

JanSport Kitsack Water Bottle Holder

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.

Homesick Candles

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.

Stasher Silicone Reusable Storage Bags

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.

Papier Study Buddies Academic Planner Desk Set

They'll appreciate this planner set to help them keep all of their assignments and deadlines in one place. The set comes with four bookmarks, sheets of stickers and a planner with a skateboard-riding ghost friend on the cover.

Amazon Gift Card

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.

Barnes & Noble Gift Card

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.

Target Gift Card

Whether they've run out of deodorant or just want to treat themselves, you can't go wrong with a Target gift card.