What to Put in a College Care Package

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Thanks to Cookies by Design for the sharing the Delux Survival Kit and delicious cookies with me. As always, my opinions are always 100% my own.

I’ve been asked many times what to put in a college care package.  Among my friends and family I’m kinda known for sending college care packages. While any care package is always greatly appreciated, there are definitely items you should include to make your care package even more enjoyable and memorable. And if you’re going to send a college care package, you might as well go big and memorable!

Red Care Package with selection of cookies and candy and title text reading What to Put in a College Care Package

I vividly remember the care packages I received in college and how much they meant to me. Sending a college care package is a concrete way to show your favorite college student that you care and are thinking of them. No matter how grown up they think they are in college, getting a care package with favorite and unexpected goodies is like sending a big hug of encouragement. And who doesn’t need and love that? I have so much fun making college care packages that I think I might be addicted!

These tips work well for know what to put in a care package for anyone, not just college students. 

What to Put in a College Care Package

  1. Cookies
  2. Snacks
  3. Fun Items
  4. Nostalgic Items
  5. Personal Care Items
  6. Themed Items
  7. A Personal Note

Creative Care Package Notes – Make the next care package you send even more special with a creative themed care package note. With 48 different notes, there’s something for every situation and every person on your care package list.

48 different brightly colored printable notes for care packages


Cookies are the foundation of a successful college care package. You can bake a batch of your student’s favorite homemade cookies or baked treats. If you do that, be sure to be careful in how you package them for shipping

Some of my favorite homemade cookies to bake and send are:

If you’re not a baker, these are truly delicious cookies that are a great option (and that I eat (almost) every day!).

Cookies by Design also offers fun and unique gourmet gifts, cookie bouquets, baskets and cookie kits that will be a big hit with your college student. Not only do they offer festive cookie options, they take care of the packaging and the shipping. Woo hoo!

Survival Kit College Care Package with cookies

The Delux Survival Kit allows you to personalize it with your own message on a cookie and choice of add on candy or nuts. It’s a perfect choice for a college survival care package. 

Football themed green & white cookies

They also offer sports team themed cookie bouquets and baskets as well as a huge variety of other themes for cookie gift packs.

girl in yellow shirt writing at desk and smiling with white text on blue rectangle about subscription care packages


Your student is busy and doesn’t always have time to get to the dinning facility. This is where your college care package ideas come to the rescue. He or she will also appreciate snacks that can be enjoyed during late-night study sessions. 

  • Candy
  • Gum
  • Popcorn
  • Beef Jerky
  • Trail Mix
  • Peanut Butter Crackers
  • Protein or Granola Bars
  • Chips
  • Dried Fruit
  • Microwaveable Meals
  • Treats Unique to Your Student’s Home or Tradition
  • Hot Cocoa Mix Packets
  • Cappuccino Packets
  • Tea Bags
  • Powdered Drink Packets

Freshman Care Package Ideas

These same ideas work perfectly for a freshman care package. Do your best to send a care package by the second full month of the student’s freshman year. Try to send a freshman care package every month or other month to encourage your favorite student every month of that first year. 

Fun Items 

College is stressful even while it’s exciting and fun. What to put in a college care package? Send silly items that will make your college student laugh, play and release stress.

3 multi colored juggling balls and 3 mini rubber ducks

Nostalgic Items

Bring a smile to your student’s face with reminders of nostalgic childhood favorites. Think of items unique to your student’s childhood or personality to include in your college care package ideas and planing.

  • Favorite Childhood Snacks
  • Items with Favorite Childhood Character
  • Item from Favorite Childhood Restaurant
  • Notes from All Family Members
  • Notes from School Friends & Teachers
  • Photos of Favorite Childhood Memories
  • Photo of Pet
Pillow with image of dog looking at camera and bow

Personal Care Items

Running errands and shopping are not high on most college student’s list of things to do. Sending them personal care items to pamper and to prevent those panicked late-night trips to the store is always a big help.

  • Lip Balm
  • Cough Drops
  • Individually Packaged Tissues
  • Nail Polish
  • Razor
  • Toothbrush
  • Hand Lotion
  • Sunscreen
  • Deodorant
  • Toothpaste

Enough for Roommates & Friends

Make it easy for your student to share with roommates and friends. Send plenty of gift items so that your student can be generous with friends. This is a particularly appropriate for freshman care package ideas. Be sure to send individually wrapped treats that can be shared with roommates and friends. Not only will it make your student feel good to be able to share, but a well-placed bribe to roommates always helps. 

Themed Items

All college care packages are a wonderful surprise, but you can take it to the next level by sending a themed care package. It’s as fun for you to create as it is for your student to receive.

If you’re mailing the college care package yourself, I recommend using a Priority Mail box from the Post Office. For one flat rate, you can cram as many gifts and treats into the care package as you can without having to make the difficult decision of what to put in a college care package and what to leave out. 

Check out all my creative college care package ideas to determine what you want to put in a college care package (or two or three) for your favorite college student. I hope you become as addicted to creating care packages as I am. 

If you have a student heading to college or one already in college, you want to check out all my Top College Tips for Success. As a parent educator and mom that has sent two of my babies 10+ hours away to college, these are tips that really work.  

See all of my care package ideas in the table below. You can scroll though the table and look for ideas or search for specific ideas with the magnifying glass in the upper right-hand corner (on desktop). Click on the topic and then click through the specific article.

young woman talking to young man with orange hair next to white text on purple background about care package subscription boxes

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  1. Those cookies are a great idea! I love those kinds of cookies with the designs on them. When I was growing up, we went to a restaurant once in awhile, and they had a bakery in the front, and they made those kinds of cookies. I always love that you think of your kids’ roommates. As a fellow mom, it touches my heart to think that another mom would actually do something for someone else’s kid too.

  2. Our church is putting together care packages for college kids. This is a great resource, giving me some ideas I hadn’t thought of. They have so little space that you want to be careful not to overwhelm them. I love the idea of a note from a teacher – that would mean so much, especially for a freshman!

    1. How wonderful that your church sends college care packages, Seana! I know they’ll be greatly appreciated by the students that receive them.

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