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Let’s be 100% honest here: the transition to college can be a tough one, no matter how smart/popular/athletic/excited the student may be. You go from the relative comfort of your own little bubble and get shoved into a brand new environment: new food, new friends, heck even a new bed! That’s why so many parents choose to send their freshman a care package; that small taste of home can make a big difference for someone trying to adjust. But what should go in a college care package?
In short, the answer is pretty much whatever they want or need! Since there are fewer shipping restrictions and the shipping time itself is shorter within the continental United States, you have a little more flexibility in care package contents.
College Care Package Contents
Fact: college kids eat like garbage. I’m pretty sure I ate more junk food in my four years at college than I did in the entire previous 18 years. Between late nights studying and zero desire to trek all the way across campus in the rain for dinner, Cheez-its and jelly beans were a far too common occurrence in my diet.
So when you’re sending care packages to your student, try and send some grab-and-go options that may be a bit on the healthier side. Now, of course Ramen Noodles probably aren’t even in the ballpark of healthy, but when it’s that or nothing, they seem like a better option. Plus they are easy to make in a dorm’s microwave. You could also try things like these Kodiak Cake Cups or Kind Bars.
Since the shipping time is much shorter, you can even try sending some homemade baked goods! Just be sure to wrap them really tightly in plastic wrap and then put them in a resealable container or bag.
School Supplies/Study Aides
One of the biggest transitions in college was learning that no one really cared if you turned things in on time. Professors handed out the course syllabus on Day 1 with all the deadlines and then never mentioned them again. Students have to stay on top of their work in college and that’s why a planner (like this one) would make such a good addition to a college care package.
Other study aides like highlighters, sticky notes, index cards and extra pens are always good things to include, especially around midterms and finals.
Health & Wellness Items
Remember that whole “eating like garbage” thing from earlier? Well then it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that college students are constantly sick. Send your student things that will keep them healthy like vitamins, hand sanitizer and emergen-C. Throwing in a new toothbrush to remind them to change theirs won’t hurt either!
While I don’t normally advocate sending expensive things in care packages, I am going to make an exception for a college care package, specifically for one item. Noise cancelling headphones. Y’all. Living with a stranger is no joke. Sometimes you need an escape, even if you’re staying put in your dorm room. Noise cancelling headphones help immensely with that! My husband owns and swears by these. Bonus-these are deployment tested! Other electronics that may help are things like a portable charger for their phone and a power strip for their room.
At the beginning, a dorm room can feel very unlike home. Small touches and time can change it drastically! In your next college care package, consider sending things like a super soft blanket, an over-the-door organizer to save on space and a bedside caddy to keep things nearby. Other items like family photos or a few favorite books/movies can help as well!
Want even more care package ideas? I’m giving away 165+ ideas (plus what to put in them) here.