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Care Package Ideas for College Students

Great ideas for things to include in a care package for college students!

Our son went away to college to begin his Freshman year last week. Amazingly enough, we fit everything he needed in the car, drove 900 miles to drop him off, helped him get his room set up and then turned around and drove home.

And when I say ‘went away to college’, I mean FAR away – 906 miles away according to the Garmin.

As we walked in the door after our trip, I saw his checkbook on the kitchen table.

The same checkbook he needed to have with him on campus.

The campus that’s 906 miles away (so not like he’ll be able to pick it up when he’s home one weekend).


Then came the first phone call — two days later.

All was well, no worries there – it was just the ‘I forgot my gym bag too‘.

As a parent who packed the majority of the car, I really can’t believe we forgot anything!

So enter our first college care package — here are a few ideas on things to send along with affiliate links for items we love to have on hand and what to consider before mailing the package. 

PLUS, a free printable list to help you brainstorm ways to make dorm life a little more home-y!


Care Package Ideas for College Students

I wasn’t about to just pack up the checkbook and gym bag without also sending off a few other things – I mean, it is his first year at college.

I started thinking about some of the items he’s mentioned over the past week – like the fact that he didn’t bring enough breakfast snacks & the dorm fridge doesn’t have an automatic water dispenser so no cold water in his room.

I know my son — he’s not the kind to walk up four flights of stairs to get ice or anything which means he’s probably not drinking enough water.

This is a big deal to Mom who knows it’s important for college kids to stay hydrated (they should still be drinking 8 glasses a day especially with all the walking they do on campus).


college care packages - things to keep kids healthy

Enter the Brita Space Saver Pitcher which fits in a dorm size fridge! It’s super thin with a locking lid for spill-free pouring. It also comes in a variety of colors so you can choose your favorite or match it too the campus colors.

My son’s at the gym almost every day and loves to hang out with friends playing basketball and ultimate frisbee. And I know he won’t drink luke warm water. Since the dining halls aren’t always open and we don’t like to buy plastic water bottles, the Brita Space Saver Pitcher is the perfect solution to having cold, refreshing water right in his dorm room!

I love finding these little surprises.

If your student has told you ‘the water tastes funny’, this could be a great solution!  Water at college may taste (and smell) different than it does at home. The Brita filter in the pitcher filters out chlorine taste and odor (plus other local minerals that may change the taste of the water).  And better tasting water means they’ll drink more like they should!


things to put in a college care package

I thought I’d pack the pitcher with a bunch of items that I know will be a welcome surprise!

I began making a list of things he loves:


great things to send to college students


How to Mail a Care Package

If this is the first time you’re sending off a package to your college student, be sure to find out how the various mail carriers deliver items.

For some campuses, the US Mail system will only deliver packages to a central location. Then the student receives a notice in their dorm mail box to go and pick up their package.

This may not be the best option if you’re sending baked goods or things they need right away (you know college kids, it may take them a few days to pick up their mail 🙂

UPS or FedEx will also deliver to college campuses and we learned that at our son’s campus, they both will deliver right to his dorm!  So when I send cookies at Christmas, I know that will be the best option for us.


And one SUPER important note — visit the college’s website to find out the best way to address a package or letter!

You will usually need to include the dorm name, dorm room number, possible the name of the quad or campus area, etc.

It’s a fairly detailed address on larger campuses. The more they have to decipher there, the longer it will take the package to be delivered.


And of course, this whole thing led me to create a printable to keep on hand since I’m sure I’ll be sending quite a few of these over the next four years.


great list of things to put in a college care package

 I focused on question prompts when making this — those Mom moments you have —

“What did he forget or what might he need?”

“What will keep him healthy?”

“What can he share with friends?”

“How can I make him smile (unexpected things)?”

Care packages are not just fun for the kids to receive but they’re also a great way for parents to connect with their students while they’re away!

 You can print your own copy of the College Care Package list here!



More Tips to Get Your Kids Ready for College:

DIY First Aid Kit list {with free printable}

9 College Prep Tips: How to Get Ready for Freshman Year

College Prep: 48 Life Skills for Teens to Know


More Back to School Ideas:

35 Free Back to School Printables

10 Ideas for Spending Time with Kids during the School Year

Vintage-themed Back to School ideas


 This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Brita for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.