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20 of the Best College Care Package Ideas

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I was so excited to send a college care package to my son when he went off to school. Even though I had all the dorm essentials packed and ready for the big move, I was not really sure what to send in a care package. Nonetheless, I did my best and I learned very quickly the things he liked, the snacks that were unnecessary, and the surprising little things he loved the most.

Though the ideas are limitless for things you can include in a college care package, the following list will give you some creative options to surprise your kids. Rest assured that in the first few weeks, while the homesickness is still in full effect, simply getting a package will be enough for them.

College Care Package

Here are 20 of the Best College Care Package Ideas

College Care Package Ideas: Subscription Packs

One of the easiest ways to send your kids a college care package is through a subscription package service. There is a broad range of packages available, each designed with a central theme, ranging from snacks to dorm essentials. The following are a few college care package subscriptions that include a variety of things, each based on a college student’s likes and preferences.

  • Campus Corner Gifts: Create a package that is perfectly suited for your student’s favorite things. From the Tailgate package to the Ultimate Movie Night, choices are numerous and all so fun. With three sizes to choose from for every curated packaged, you’ll find one that your student and your budget will like.
  • Snackcrate: Give your adventurous student snacks from around the world. A new country’s favorite snacks are shipped directly to your student each month. Three different sizes to choose. Options include salty and sweet, chocolatey or a combo.
  • Urthbox: For the student with special dietary needs or who just craves a healthy snack box. Four different sizes to choose. Options include gluten free, keto, vegan, or classic.
  • My College Crate: One-time or monthly packages include snacks, along with some fun surprises, basic essentials and even some school supplies. Choose from a wide array of choices that will best suit your college student.
  • Campus Cube: A variety of snack options along with the essentials. There are even birthday and exam package options, specifically for times when a college care package is especially appreciated.


  • Easy and efficient. Set it up once and you can have regularly scheduled packages sent to your college student each month or however often you choose.
  • Saves time and hassle. No running to the store to gather items, purchase shipping boxes, or standing in line at the Post Office.


  • Expensive. Convenience comes with a price. Depending on the size and frequency of the subscription package you choose, it can get spendy, especially when considering all those other fees that come with college.
  • Generic. They might end up with a lot of things they don’t like or really don’t need.

College Care Package Ideas: Notes and Words of Encouragement

I’m a words of affirmation type of mom. What can I say? I love sending a little encouragement. With all the goodies and fun things I sent over the course of the school year, shockingly it was my notes that lasted. I saw the cards I had written tacked to his calendar, affirming my belief that those cards do matter.

  • Random Hidden Notes. If you’re just dropping your college student off at the dorm for the very first time, or visiting throughout the year, write out several notes prior to your visit and before you leave, hide them throughout the dorm. Sooner or later or just when when they least expect it, they might find the words they needed on a particular day.
  • Extra Notes: Rather than just writing a simple “Love, Mom” message, consider write a short reminder to them and include it in a package. My son told me he liked this the best every time he opened a package because he could hear my voice in my written words.
  • Personalized Book of Wisdom: I would not have thought to do this on my own, but my son specifically requested my husband and I write him a book of advice so that when he needed us, he would always have our words close to him. We each wrote eight topics and put them together in a short book. This was not only a fun exercise for us, it is something he’ll cherish for years to come. I’ll share specifics on how we put this together in an upcoming blog…stay tuned!
College Care Package Book
  • Books. There might not be a lot of extra time for reading, but a quick morning devotional might be just what they need when going through a hard time or stressing over finals.
  • Personalized Cards and Postcards: Create your own unique cards and postcards with Canva or Touchnote with a special memory or a little bit of a “You Got This” motivation!
College Care Package Personalized Postcard


  • Inexpensive. Letters, cards and creative books are an inexpensive way to give your college student some encouragement.
  • Personalized. Nothing cures a little homesickness than a note and personalized memory from Mom and Dad.


  • Snail Mail. Remind them that they need to check their actual mailbox!

College Care Package Ideas: Gift Cards

Perhaps some of the best things you can send are gift cards. Even if it feels like you’re taking the easy way out, they will appreciate these the most, because every college kid loves free money, right?

  • Uber & Lyft: Not only will this give you a little peace of mind, it’s the perfect gift for the student without a car or whose gas tank is habitually on “EMPTY.”
  • Coffee Cards: Whether it’s Starbucks or a local favorite coffee shop, a few extra pick-me-ups on Mom taste even better.
  • Door Dash, Grubhub, Uber Eats: The cafeteria or food choices on campus can get old after awhile. Adding some variety for a treat will definitely boost any college students’ spirits.


  • Easy. Gift cards are sold everywhere and can be used almost anywhere. Even for the pickiest college student, there is something for everyone.
  • Instant Access. Make life even easier by sending electronic gift cards or adding funds to apps to their favorite places. Skip the mail and send digitally.


  • Location Specific. Make sure that it can be used on or around campus before you send it.
  • Loss. Let’s face it, college students have a lot to stay on top of and gift cards might easily get lost under the piles of laundry.

College Care Package Ideas: Same Day Delivery and Pick Up

It might not compare to mom’s homemade ones, but who doesn’t love freshly baked cookies? Cookies are great way to cheer up a homesick kid. They will also learn quickly that what were once simple conveniences at home are not always easily accessible while living in a dorm. When your college student is over the cafeteria or fast food options, a grocery delivery might feel like home.

Insomnia Cookies
  • Freshly Baked Cookies. Insomnia Cookies and Crumbl Cookies deliver freshly baked cookies within the hour!
  • Groceries and Essentials from Target. Purchase groceries and have them sent straight to the dorm. This will come in really handy when your kids are sick. If they are able, you can even consider avoiding delivery fees by adding them to your Target shopping app when placing an order and they will be able to pick it up…if they have transportation.
  • Healthy Options from Whole Foods. There may not be a Whole Foods nearby, but it can be a great way to send your college kid some of their favorite healthy options for a special occasion. Delivery available through Amazon in select locations.
  • Local Grocery Store Delivery. Find your local grocer in your college area. Most stores offer a limited delivery service based on each particular store.


  • Convenient. A lot of college students don’t always have access to transportation, so getting outside of campus can be tricky. Having groceries or cookies delivered makes life a little bit easier.
  • Fast. Place an order and your college student will have it within a couple hours or less!


  • Timing is Everything. If delivering to a college dorm, you’ll probably need to give a heads up to ensure they will be there to receive it!
  • Gone in 60 Seconds. Go ahead and send a full dozen of those cookies. Consequently, once the rest of the dorm smells them, they might be gone before they have time to appreciate them!

BONUS: Create Your Own College Care Package

I guess I’m a little old-fashioned. Although I’ve sent all of the easy and convenient things, I especially like to fill a box with all the favorite things I think my son will love. Maybe it is because it reminds me of the college care packages my mom used to send to me. All things considered, this takes a little more time and little more love, but is worth it knowing they will get just what they have missed or needed.

You’re probably going to be tempted to add all the things with that first college care package you send. Remember, your kid is probably a little homesick, so sending anything that gives them a little taste of home will go a long way.

Do you have some great college care package ideas? Comment below and let me know if you have any cool and new ideas for me. Be sure to subscribe to have weekly blog post sent directly to your inbox.

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