Wondering what to include in care packages for your college student? We asked some of our UMHEF scholarship recipients what they’d most like to get. Here’s a list of some of those items, plus a few ideas to put some extra care into those care packages.

College Care Package Ideas

Most Requested Items

It may come as no surprise that the most requested item students would love to get in a care package is money!

  • Grocery store gift cards
  • Coffee shop gift cards
  • Restaurant gift cards
  • Coins or cash for the laundry room
  • Cash for spending on whatever they need

Also not surprising, is the second most popular item: food!

  • Favorite candy and snacks
  • Microwave popcorn
  • Homemade cookies or treats
  • Items from their hometown bakery

Practically Perfect Items

Including some practical necessities in care packages can offer students support during those long hours of writing papers and studying for tests.

  • Pens, pencils, or highlighters
  • Colorful sticky notes
  • Note cards
  • Portable reading light
  • Travel coffee mug
  • Stress ball

Items to Encourage and Inspire

Don’t underestimate the power of an encouraging word or self-care moment to keep students going!

  • Handwritten card or note
  • Mementos or photos from home
  • Printed Scripture Cards
  • Coloring book and crayons or markers
  • Lotion, lip balm, or body scrub

More Resources to Support College Students

When in doubt about what your college or seminary student would be most excited to get in a package, just ask! You’ll never go wrong asking for ideas straight from the source.

If you’re looking for other ideas for how to care for the students in your life, check out our Pinterest board of care package ideas (and other resources) we’ve collected over the years.

Madison, Paine College Student & UMHEF Scholar

As she begins her junior year at Paine College in Augusta, Georgia, Madison is striving for more through UMHEF. She is one of nearly 1,000 students around the world impacted by United Methodist Higher Education Foundation (UMHEF) scholarships this year.

A recipient of the UMHEF Martha Forrest Scholarship for the 2022-2023 academic year, Madison is able to focus on her studies without struggling to cover the costs.

“This scholarship plays a role in successfully paying for my education and ensures I can reach my goals without having a doubt in my mind about paying for it.”

Madison, Paine College Student & UMHEF Scholar

With the support, Madison can focus on her studies and reach for her dreams. “I plan to work my way into pediatrics after I receive my undergraduate degree,” she says. “I love children, as well as helping people, so why not go into pediatrics and be the best at it?!”

A serious, driven student, Madison explains, “I always strive for more instead of settling for less.” Among her achievements, Madison was selected to represent Paine College as a White House Initiative Scholar in 2021. She adds, “This made a lot of people proud—including myself!” The staff of UMHEF is also proud—as I hope you are—to be a part of her journey.

Your contributions help thousands of young United Methodists like Madison, attending one of over 100 UM-related institutions of higher education, strive for more instead of settling for less.

Please consider a gift of $25, $50, $100, $500, or any amount to support our students. When you give to the United Methodist Higher Education Foundation, you empower our young people and set them up for success.