Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in this post may be "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive an affiliate commission, which keeps the lights on and the tax collector paid. Many thanks for your support! Disclosure in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.
Exam college care packages are a fairly well-covered topic on ye-olde internet, however I’d like to share my own experience with these, because it is just so, so fun and happy.
My local church sends out care packages before spring exams to our post-secondary students. Before exam time, they compile a list of the two dozen or so students who call the church home.
Then, they put out a call for people to bring things for the boxes, enough for each box to get one. You can drop things off in advance, or bring them on the box assembly day. It’s usually a Friday or a Saturday morning, with coffee, snacks, and lots of laughs. I have only been able to make it once, but it was oh so much fun.
After the exam care packages have arrived in the dorm rooms and apartments of the students, people grab screenshots of the happy Facebook status updates (with the person’s name and photo blurred out), or snippets of emails home. Then, they are turned into a slideshow and presented to the whole church, so folks can ooh and ahh, and smile about all the joy these simple care packages bring into the lives of the students.
The students’ reactions are overwhelmingly positive and full of fun, I absolutely love seeing them. I mean, what’s not to love, seeing a whole bunch of happy stories!
What I Put in Exam College Care Packages
What did I give this year? Cans of Play Doh!. There was a huge bin at the grocery store and I loaded up :-) Also a big box of microwave popcorn. I am sure that they were well received. This year there were 19 care packages, so cost become a bit of a concern. Spending $2 per student turns into $38 very quickly. If you are only making one or two, you can probably splash out for a few items that cost more than a dollar!
What did I want to give this year? Lip Balm. There was a bulk pack of Disney princess lip chap, but unfortunately my choices were the good ($2-3+ each) kinds, or the ridiculously over gendered kinds. By over gendered, I mean extremely girly. So, no lip balm for the college care packages!
Another year, I gave mini Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle bubbles. You KNOW those are amazing. Amazing.
Pro tip: Use snack size ziploc bags to make sure liquids don’t explode all over.
The Most Popular Item
What is the most popular, weird thing in the packages every year? The local newspaper’s Police Report. It’s always good for a laugh and definitely reminds you of home. When you’re in the city, the police reports do not talk about bears in sheds or moose charging school children!
As I have mentioned before, I really love Random Acts of Kindness and sending things to your old student house is a great and easy way to do one. Depending on the time of year and the year of school that your recipient is attending, you may want to alter your ideas so that you are not shipping a bunch of “stuff” that will require packing up and disposing/moving very shortly after it arrives. In that case, it is probably best to stick to small, lightweight things and consumable things.
As much as terrible snack foods can be delicious, when you are trying to stuff as much as possible into your noggin, it is probably best to avoid sugar highs and crashes and other crap-food negatives. Stick to relatively healthy snacks foods, vitamins and beverages for your care package. Maybe add in a few of your amazing homemade cookies or brownies, or if you’re Kathleen from Frugal Portland, some caramels!
Exam Care Package Ideas
Candy Canes – at Christmas time!
Candy Bars – That’s Chocolate Bars in Canadian
Caffeine Free Tea – for late nights!
“Meals” & Things for Students with Kitchens
Fun & Funky Ideas
– in school colours!
– for the fridge
Personal Care Items
CASH – everyone likes this stuff. Everyone.
Handy Household Stuff
Nice Care Package Touches
Notes from Home
Hometown Newspaper or Announcements
Letters & Drawings from friends and family
Clothing & Such
Seasonal Socks – ie Christmas
(Alternatively, buy a care package directly from Amazon.)
Need more content ideas? Here are plenty more.
Have you ever received an exam study kit? What was your favourite item?