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Its officially August! And if your parents are anything like mine were when I was in college, they’re already asking what you need for school. If you’re an incoming freshman, you’re probably thinking about some things that’ll help you make friends in your building, and things that’ll remind you of home. In addition to that, this list also reminds you of a lot of things you’ll need, but I promise you won’t want to spend your own money on. So, here’s a list of all the things your parents can send you in an awesome college care package. The stuff on here will keep you warm, fed, un-homesick, clean and cozy for the whole year.
Related: Secrets from a College Tour Guide
College Care Package Ideas
Fuzzy socks are a great college care package item because they’ll keep you warm on those long winter nights, they’ve got tons of personality, and they’re easier to wash than slippers. Plus, you can wear them around your hall while you’re participating in all your dorm shenanigans.
You can never have too many blankets. Bonus points if it’s super soft, in your school colors, or handmade. I’ve included a link to a nice fleece one that comes in different colors. It also comes in twin xl, so it’ll fit your weird-ass bed!
Easy Mac was basically all I ate in college, even when I got an apartment with a stove and oven! I love this stuff. I love it more when my parents buy it for me. I’ve included a link for a big 8-pack you can get from Amazon! Usually they sell in packs of 4 at a regular grocery store.
Another food item for your college care package, along with the easy Mac, is ramen. Ramen is one of the cheapest foods out there, and it’s got a ton of flavor! The link above is to a variety pack of ramen flavors plus a microwavable bowl.
Based on the Easy Mac and ramen, you might’ve gotten the clue that the dorms are not the healthiest place. That’s why your parents’ college care packages to you should also include vitamins. Of some kind. But the ones I linked to are great. They’re the ones I personally use, and they have 125% of your daily recommended vitamin C, 100% of your vitamin E, and 50% of your vitamin A, to name a few. And they’re gummies and they’re delicious!
You’re going to get colds, your room is going to get dusty, you’re going to run out of makeup wipes and need an emergency option. Your friends will get colds and dusty rooms and need an emergency option for makeup remover wipes, and you’ll have them. In fact, you can have a sixteen pack. If you have the space, it’s almost always better to go bulk than have to keep buying.
In order to save on your tissues, ask your parents to keep you stocked up on makeup remover wipes! Trust me, taking this five seconds at the end of the night to use these is the difference between feeling super ratchet on Sunday morning and…well…not. I use Neutrogena, and this twin pack will keep you fresh-faced for fifty Sunday mornings.
Obviously for laundry, not eating, you little mess of a Gen Z-er, you. Your college care package should consist of this giant pack of sixty tide pods, which I am CERTAIN will get you through your entire fall semester, if not your entire year. For $20. All your laundry for the whole year, twenty bucks.
Did you know you’re supposed to replace your toothbrush every six months? A care package with this ten-pack of toothbrushes will set you up for your entire four years, plus two to give away to some unfortunate soul on your floor who is brushing their teeth with a two year old toothbrush.
The purpose of having protein bars in your care package is twofold. For one thing, you need to balance out the Easy Mac and ramen. And the late-night Papa Johns and loads of dining hall food. But also, you’re going to be on the go a lot. You’ll need snacks that keep you full and energized. And that taste good. Luna bars are a great combination of all three of those things. My favorite flavors are the chocolate dipped coconut and lemon zest.
If you’re willing to sacrifice taste a little for double the protein, Think Thin bars are also great. They’re a little more bland, but they pack a whopping twenty grams of protein.
Gift cards for food outside campus
Starbucks, Dunkin, Chipotle, Papa Johns, Dominos, etc. A little restaurant in town, or some comfort food from home. You’re going to get sick of dining hall food, so it would be really great of your parents to drop these in the care package!
Again, trust me. 200 hair ties will find a way to disappear.
Some books about college
If your parents want to do a book-themed care package, this is a great set of three, or they can choose based on who YOU are.
The Naked Roommate– And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College. This book covers a wild range of topics from roommate troubles to greek life to classes and even sexual assault. It was written in 2006, so there are some older topics in there like Myspace (*GASP*) but it has been updated.
Her Campus Guide to College Life– This book is much like The Naked Roommate in that it covers a huge variety of topics, but it’s geared more toward women.
1001 Things Every College Student Needs to Know– a third college bible, but the cheapest of the three options! If your parents are looking for a budget-friendly guide to college, this is it.
Unfortunately you can’t choose your room based on outlet placement. Ask for a ten-foot charger in your next care package! This one comes in red and black for a little extra personality.
Your parents can put these in one of your care packages to help you have the most fun room on the floor!
Cards Against Humanity– a fun, dirty card game that is SURE to loosen everyone up.
What Do You Meme– Very similar to Cards Against Humanity, but with memes, which makes it all the more fun and millennial-friendly
Quelf– My roommate freshman year had this game, and I cringed every time she pulled it out. Essentially, you draw a card and have to do whatever it says. Sounds simple, until you have to put ice down your pants. Or until you’re a 20 year old man dancing like a ballerina. But I have to admit, we got some fun video and I never laughed so hard (when it wasn’t my turn)
I’ve seen lots of college care package guides that say not to bring seasonal decor because it takes up space, which is a valid point. However, holidays in college are seriously bleak without decorations. I still get warm and fuzzy when I think of the mood shift I felt after I hung paper snowflakes from my freshman dorm room ceiling. And when I think of how nice people were to us while this was up on our door 😉 If you can, just have your parents send you your decor as needed so it doesn’t take up space and you still get some Christmas joy.
When I was a sophomore, I got a stomach virus and my mom felt so helpless that she called the health center and asked them to do something. When I finally called, they were like “are you the one who’s mom keeps calling?!”
So, let your parents have a hand in your self-preservation for the sake of their health. Ask them for some of this stuff in your next care package:
Pain Relief– Advil is my drug of choice, and 200 is a good number for the price. You can also get a pack of 360, but it’s pricey and if you need more than two hundred Advil in a semester, see a doctor.
Cold Relief– DayQuil got me through so much crap in college. More specifically, colds.
Cough drops– these are MAGIC. Seriously. Their flavor is strong for sure, but I’ve actually grown to really enjoy it, maybe because they’ve made me feel better so many times. I could snack on ’em.
Stomach Pain– Tums come in these chewy bites now. You don’t have to deal with that weird, chalky texture. And these berry ones taste great.
Just something you don’t want to have to spend your own money on. It’s well-documented that men’s razors do a better job, so I’ve linked the ones I use above.
Cash or Amazon Gift Cards
If all else fails, if your parents ask what you need, money is a great answer.
What are your college care package essentials?!