The 25 Best College Care Packages

Updated: Apr. 23, 2024

Between exams, essays and the best years of their lives, there's nothing quite like receiving a college care package (especially when it gives them a break from dining hall food).

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The 25 Best College Care Packages Ft Via AVIA MERCHANT

When I was a college student, the thing I looked forward to most were the care packages my mom would send me. She was the rock star of preparing care packages, putting in treats from our hometown, from caramels to healthy ramen-esque noodles to bags of coffee to socks (there were always, always socks). What made the packages so great was that they filled a vital need I had—good food and snacks—and it was nice to know she was thinking of me, even though we were thousands of miles apart.

College care packages are that delightful blend of treating students to their favorite treats while sending them your love. And, really, it’s hard to go wrong with care packages for college students.

Stocking their mini fridges and shelves with good food can instantly make a day, sending them some snacks and coffee can help them push through exam season, and delivering more thematic boxes can let them relax and take their mind off school for a bit.

To delight your college student, we searched for care packages and gift baskets to suit different tastes and hobbies, whether they’re near or far. Knowing the limits of dorm room living, we looked for food and beverage options that would make daily meals a little more exciting without requiring a ton of equipment. We also found a few options that can help prepare them for life beyond school, so they can practice other pursuits and enjoy hobbies during study breaks.

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Cometeer Coffee

For the One Who Requires Coffee

Coffee Pods

As a college student, I relied on my Keurig or lattes from the coffee shop to survive. But one requires a machine, and the other get expensive fast. All you have to do with these flash-frozen coffee pods is defrost them (I run them under hot water for a few seconds) and pop them into a cup before filling it with water. They can be transformed into a basic drip coffee or more elaborate drinks with minimal effort and equipment, ideal for tired, busy college students.

Read more in our review of the service.

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Olive And June Box Edit Madi Koetting 2

For the One Who Loves the Salon

At-Home Manicure System

There’s nothing like a nice manicure, but the price can be outside a college student’s budget (a fact I kept relearning while in undergrad). Enter the Olive + June manicure system, which comes with the tools—think nail clippers, nail buffer, cuticle serum, and more—that yield salon-quality results. Reviews also rave about it strengthening their nails even while the polish stays intact for a long time (so long, expensive gel nails). The set comes with a selection of stunning polishes.

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Paletteful Painter subscription box

For the After-Hours Artist

Paletteful Packs

Let them unleash their creative side with this art box, which comes with everything they need, including the tools, to bring a masterpiece to life. Each box includes access to a digital page that walks them through tips, tricks and prompts, great for artists of all levels. It’s a meaningful surprise for students with artistic ambitions or those looking to pick up a new hobby.

This can also be ordered as a monthly subscription. Check out these other gifts for crafters for more gifting inspiration!

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Charcuterie And Cheese Care Package Ecomm Via

For the One Who Loves Gourmet Snacks

Charcuterie and Cheese Care Package

Just because they’re living in a dorm room doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy an elegant charcuterie platter. This care package is stuffed with multiple types of cheese, sausages, and sweet and salty snacks. This charcuterie gift basket is great for them to lay out when friends come over, but it’s equally good for them to keep as a snack stash for busy study days.

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Bag Bundle

For the Outdoorsy One

Bag Bundle

If they like to spend their weekends off-campus, whether that’s planning picnics, browsing the farmers market or camping, this bundle of coolers will make sure they have their favorite nibbles wherever they are. The smaller cooler could also be used to bring lunch in-between classes. The company emphasizes sustainable materials and manufacturing, so your college student knows their present has a positive impact on the planet.

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College Care Package Ecomm Via

For the Snacker

College Care Package

And, honestly, which student isn’t always in need of a good snack? This college care package is packed with the classic sweet and savory snacks that keep them going through long study sessions and late nights with friends. They can nibble on favorite college snacks, from M&Ms to gummy bears to caramel popcorn and more. It also includes chicken ramen for nights when the dining hall doesn’t cut it.

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Spa Day Gift Set

For the One Who Needs a Spa Day

Spa Day Gift Set

This gift set delivers all the indulgence and relaxation of a day at the spa without them having to leave their room. They can trade their college sweats for a Turkish cotton spa dress (available in two sizes) while lighting a peony flower candle to set a serene mood. The gift set for women also includes a facial sheet mask, comforting tea and a rose bath soak.

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Taste Of New York Box Ecomm Via

For the One Dreaming of the Big Apple

Taste of New York Box

Whether they’re homesick for NYC or dreaming of an upcoming internship in the city, this gift box is filled with New York’s iconic eats. They’ll enjoy everything from Gray’s Papaya’s hot dogs, NYC-style pizza, traditional NYC bagels and even cheesecake.

It’s also a very practical gift basket for hungry students, so they can be well-fed and have a break from the dining hall.

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This fruit and cheese basket will conjure up memories of lazy picnic days spent in the sun, even if they’re buried in a book. Juicy and sweet pears are accompanied by four different types of cheese for healthier snacks that elevate dorm life or are perfect for an afternoon on the quad. Note that the cheeses are mainly blue, so make sure that works for your college student’s palette! If not, these cheese-of-the-month clubs are worth a look.

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Hot Sauce Challenge

For the One Who Loves 'Hot Ones'

Hot Sauce Challenge

If ‘Hot Ones’ is their favorite YouTube show, this hot sauce gift box lets them recreate the famous challenge with their friends. It includes 10 different sauces, which level up on the Scoville scale, while letting them explore different brands.

Make it even more special by adding on a gift card for a local wings spot or a list of questions they can ask their friends! They also offer a gift-of-the-month club option for full-on spice fiends.

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Exam Care Package Ecomm Via

For the One in Midterms

Exam Care Package

Because, yes, occasionally college students do study, and a good exam care package makes all the difference. This box is filled with the little indulgences that good grades are made from, including tea for deep sleep, eye masks to help with long nights and a candle to burn while doing practice questions.

Note that this care package does include a bath soak, so it’s best for college students who have apartments or easy access to a bath!

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Artisanal Popcorn Kit

For the One Who Loves Movie Night

Artisanal Popcorn Kit

This popcorn kit takes a gourmet spin on the bagged microwaveable snacks that usually accompany college movie nights. Along with high-quality popping corn, they’ll level things up with lavender honey to drizzle on top and spicy Chimayo salt or smoky Oaxacan salt. They’ll become the most popular dorm room for Netflix binges — we mean, study sessions.

Your student will need to pop the corn on the stove or in a microwaveable popper. None available? Try a chocolate gift instead.

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Snack Pack

For the One Who Needs a Pick-Me-Up

Snack Pack

Long homework assignments, meet your match. This care package is filled with healthy-ish snacks — exactly the kind of surprise every college student looks forward to. Treats range from granola bars to potato chips to packets of tea. The gift basket also includes a few toys, like a slinky and a bouncy ball, because we’re never too old for fun (plus, they offer a nice distraction for a brain break).

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Self Love Box Ecomm Via

For the Girl Boss

Self Love Box

Help them celebrate all they’re accomplishing with a gift box filled with everything to brighten their days and keep them motivated. The contents of the gift boxes vary, but they can expect full-sized bath and beauty products, pieces of jewelry, tasty snacks and even popular books. They have big goals—this box provides the gifts to help them meet them.

This cozy gift is available as a monthly subscription for an ongoing gift.

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Gluten Free Gift Box Ecomm Via

For the Gluten-Free Snacker

Gluten-Free Gift Box

Being gluten-free in college was tough, because dorm snacks often failed to offer options that I could eat. Let them indulge with this gift box of gluten-free goodies from an LA favorite. The treats are more creative than your typical box of brownies. While there are chocolate chip cookies, they’re filled with rice krispies and marshmallows, and your student will also enjoy cakewiches, pecan sandwich cookies, banana chocolate bread and more. Sharing not required.

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Sugarwish gift box with Containers Of Various Candy Propped In Front Of The Box

For the One Who's a Little Homesick

Thinking of You Box

College can be some of the best years of our lives, and also some of the toughest. For the student who’s missing home or feeling a bit overwhelmed, this gift box will remind them that they’re loved while adding some delightful gifts to their day. Depending on the size you get, they’ll receive candy (from over 75 options), cookies, coffee and tea, fresh flowers or potted plants (just to name a few!).

Read our review of Sugarwish to see which options are worth splurging on.

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Pilates Essential Kit Ecomm Via

For the Fitness Lover

Pilates Essential Kit

Movement can help boost mood, memory and energy levels. This Pilates kit allows students to get in exercise without having to head to the gym. It delivers everything they need to develop a routine in their dorm or apartment, including dumbbells, a Pilates ball, grip socks, resistance bands and more. They can find effective workouts on YouTube and take mini fitness breaks between essays.

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European Tapas Crate Ecomm Via

For the One Ready to Study Abroad

European Tapas Crate

Not every college day can be spent in Barcelona, but at least this European tapas crate can transport their taste buds. Beautifully gift-wrapped, this package includes bruschetta sourdough crackers and a spread of delicious toppings, from toasted pecans to cheese to artichoke tomato bruschetta. It’s a fun surprise for someone otherwise living off of Trader Joe’s frozen dinners (was that just me?) and a tasty addition to a group study sesh.

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Gather & Share Crate Ecomm Via

For the One Who Loves to Host

Gather & Share Crate

Some of the best college memories are those we share with friends, and this care package is packed with salty and sweet treats that they can nibble on while prepping for tests together, watching TikTok or hosting friends for a casual hang. It’s available in four different sizes, but all include crostini with a cheese spread, candy, trail mix and sweet popcorn. Bigger crates add on bites like white chocolate pretzels, hummus and berry gumdrops.

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Momofuku Bestseller Pack Ecomm Via

For the Ramen Lover

Momofuku Bestseller Pack

Delivering gourmet flavors to their dorm room, this gift pack of instant noodles includes five flavors, and chili crunch, seasoned salt and soy sauce for some extra flavor. The noodles (there are 25 packs total) are ready within minutes and take traditional ramen to a restaurant-quality meal. The additional toppings can add some heat and depth to the noodles or can be used to upgrade their other meals.

Hot tip: Try the chili crunch on top of ice cream.

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A good set of pans can go a long way, but most college students’ kitchens aren’t stocked with the best tools. This set of essential pots and pans will replace the burnt skillet they’re working with, so they unwind after class by experimenting with new recipes and dazzling their roommates. This set is also great for limited space since there are only two “universal” lids, and the pots and pans easily stack in a cabinet.

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Aeropress Brew Kit Ecomm Via

For the Coffee Drinker on the Go

AeroPress Brew Kit

I feature Bean & Bean a lot because I think their coffee justifies that much attention. This kit includes a bag of their beans and an AeroPress, so they can make high-quality coffee without needing any fancy machinery. It also comes with two single serve coffee bags for days when there isn’t time to do anything but heat up some water. To make it even better, it arrives with a tote bag, perfect for running to class or to a club meeting. If they love coffee, check out these coffee-of-the-month subscriptions!

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Book Lovers Box

For the Bookworm

Book Lovers Box

Because sometimes it’s nice to read something that’s not assigned for a class. This book lovers box will awaken their imagination with two different books (you can select their preferred genre), a coffee mug, a bookmark, a snack and so much more that listing it nearly becomes a novel in itself. Needless to say, a great read is only part of the delight, and they’ll have everything they need for some quality “me time.”

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Protein Bars

For the One Who Needs an On-the-Go Snack

Protein Bars

While juggling classes, extracurriculars and friends, sometime there isn’t time for a sit-down meal. This variety pack of protein bars may not be a traditional gift box, but it’s certainly full of care. I’m obsessed with this brand (a friend turned me onto it for my busy days) — the bars taste delicious, they’ll keep your college student full, and they’re healthier than what they might normally toss into their bags to fuel up during their day.

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Breakfast Bowl

For the One Who Loves to Start Their Day Right

Breakfast Bowl

There’s nothing better to get a student out of bed than the promise of a delicious breakfast (honestly, that’s still what gets me up). This breakfast in a basket has everything they need to build a granola bowl, aside from yogurt and fruit. It includes different types of granola, peanut butter and nuts. There’s also some salted caramel sauce because hard-working college students deserve a little extra sweetness. Not a breakfast person? Try a soup gift instead!