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Best college care package ideas

What is the best college care package idea?

While college students arrive in dorms with most essentials, eventually, they’ll need to stock up on more supplies. If you’re mulling over college care package ideas, don’t worry— we have you covered.

College care packages usually include a combination of practical and comfort items, ranging from toilet paper to a box of homemade cookies. Many family and friends send themed college care packages, with “get well soon” and “final exam essentials” among the most common. Other care packages are more personal and include photos, collages or hometown mementos. 

What to know before you send college care packages


College care packages include an eclectic mix of items, but some of them may require special shipping and handling. More specifically, carriers have strict rules regarding the shipping of certain items.

The U.S. Postal Service, for example, states that perfumes and hand sanitizers containing alcohol are not allowed to be shipped via air transportation because they contain flammable materials. Instead, they are limited to ground service and will need to disclose their presence in boxes. 

Take a close look at your preferred carrier’s guidelines regarding shipping and prohibited items. Most carriers have comprehensive lists available on their websites. If after reviewing them you’re still unsure whether you can ship something, it’s recommended to defer to their corporate or local office for clarification. 

Wish lists

Many college students create online wish lists for their favorite retailers. If you’re not sure what to send in a college care package, this is a good place to start. As an added bonus, these retailers can ship items directly to dorms— which may save time and money when it comes to shipping. 

Practical items for college care packages

Many college care packages include practical items like toiletries, cleaning supplies or over-the-counter medication. 

While many college students arrive in their dorms with plenty of these items, after a few weeks, they’ll need to be replenished. Additionally, it’s not unusual for more expensive things, like bulk packs of toilet paper, to fall outside of a college student’s limited budget. 

Comfort items for college care packages

Comfort items often find their way into college care packages. They often include homemade treats, hometown goodies and sentimental items like photos or handmade crafts. 

It’s common for college care packages to include comfort foods, namely non-perishable snacks, treats, candy or desserts. Some people prefer shipping individually packaged foods so college students can bring them to class or study hall. 

Healthy ideas for college care packages

Many college students hit the gym or participate in college or intramural sports. To support their active, busy lifestyles, they may ask for care packages that contain healthy or nutrient-dense foods.

These healthy college care packages often contain vitamins, supplements or organic pantry staples. Or, they may contain specialty items that are expensive or harder to find, such as foods that are Keto- or paleo-friendly. 

Best care package ideas for college students

An Amazon gift card

Amazon Gift Card

An Amazon gift card is considered an ideal gift since it lets recipients choose exactly what they want, whether it’s a waffle iron, Kindle books or mouthwash. 

Sold by: Amazon

A low-maintenance toilet bowl cleaner

Scotch-Brite Disposable Toilet Scrubber Starter Kit

This convenient bowl scrubber takes the hard work out of cleaning toilets. The kit includes a handle, caddy and five disposable scrubber refills. 

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A box of late-night cookie treats

Pepperidge Farm Milano Dark Chocolate Cookies

A favorite midnight snack, these Milano cookies come two to a pack. The cookies can be enjoyed or on their, dunked in coffee or tea or crumbled over ice cream. 

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A weighted blanket

Weighted Ideal Cooling Weighted Blanket

This weighted blanket helps users relax or fall asleep more easily. It features a breathable design and has a removable duvet cover for easy washing. 

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Jumbo shampoo and conditioner bottles

Herbal Essences Rose Hip Shampoo and Conditioner

At nearly 30 ounces each, these Herbal Essences bottles might last the whole semester. They have a light, pleasant rose scent and are certified cruelty-free. 

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An origami kit

Gamenote Colorful Kids Origami Kit

An origami kit is a fun way for college students to unplug and enjoy screen-free time. This kit includes an assortment of eco-friendly folding paper and a 55-page craft guide. 

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Convenient flossers

Plackers Micro Mint Dental Floss Picks

Flossing is quick and easy with these floss picks, which are effective at removing plaque and food debris from hard-to-reach places. They come in a resealable bag. 

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A box of hand warmers

Tundras Hot Hand Warmers

Trekking across campus in plunging temperatures is a little more comfortable with these long-lasting hand warmers. They’re ultra-thin and fit easily inside gloves. 

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A fun card-based game

What Do You Meme? Game

In this quick-moving game, players are challenged to match memes to caption cards— and hilarity ensues. 

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A bag of matcha

Kiss Me Organics Matcha Green Tea Powder

This organic matcha powder can be mixed in protein shakes, smoothies, cakes or oatmeal. It’s touted as an effective, natural energy booster.

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A self-care face mask variety pack

Freeman Facial Mask Bundle

College students can indulge in a little self-care with this Freeman face mask set. Each formula leaves skin feeling refreshed, hydrated and clean. 

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A box of quick and easy mac and cheese

Kraft Easy Mac Original Flavor Macaroni and Cheese Pouches

These convenient instant macaroni and cheese packets can be enjoyed in four minutes or less with a microwave. They’re considered a favorite pick for late-night snacking. 

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A box of cleaning pads

Mr. Clean Magic Erasers

Magic Erasers are tough on stains without the chemicals. Because they’re odorless and mess-free, they’re a favorite dorm-cleaning essential. 

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A jar of nuts

Planters NUTrition Heart Healthy Snack Nut Mix

This premium nut variety is ideal for snacking or adding to salads, yogurt or oatmeal. They’re low in salt and non-GMO. 

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A jar of organic rice

RiceSelect Organic Jasmati Rice

In addition to a fine texture and subtle flavor this rice variety is certified organic, non-GMO, gluten-free and Kosher. It’s packaged in a BPA-free recyclable jar. 

Sold by: Amazon


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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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