When you live in a crowded dorm and exist on ramen noodles and cafeteria food, there's nothing better than receiving a special package from home. Whether it's a box filled with homemade snacks and treats or a pre-made gift basket loaded with fun and useful goodies, college students love just about any kind of care package.

Need help figuring out what to send to your favorite scholar? Check out the following suggestions!

Homemade Baked Goods

Who doesn't love to get a box of homemade baked goods? If you want to send a box of homemade love to your favorite college student, be sure to use a variety that can hold up to shipping. Bar cookies, brownies, and soft and chewy cookies are all good choices, as are sturdy cookies like shortbread and biscotti.

Looking for some specific recipes for cookies that ship well? Baking guru Martha Stewart has an entire collection on her website, including these tasty suggestions:

Once you've decided what kinds of cookies you're going to make, you'll need to take the proper shipping precautions. Martha Stewart also offers lots of information about how to package and ship cookies, but true to Martha's elaborate style, her suggestions are pretty fancy.

If you're looking for some simpler shipping methods, you might prefer this comprehensive guide to shipping a variety of baked goods safely and securely.

Gift Baskets and Boxes

Homemade care packages are wonderful, but if you don't have the time or the talent, there are lots of other ways to show your college student that you care. Many companies offer themed gift baskets for every occasion, and even better, will deliver the basket right to your student's door.

At BOX-O-BOX, you can choose from such unique specialties as an Exam Time Box, Pamper Yourself Box, or even a seasonal Box-O-Ween (meant for Halloween). Hip Kits offers a similar line of products, with boxes available in themes from Birthday Bash to Miss Bliss to Get Well Sooner.

Another alternative to ordering a pre-made gift box is to simply make your own. You can include anything from fun treats like candy and magazines to practical items like toiletries and school supplies. Other items you might want to put in your homemade gift basket include:

  • healthy snacks like protein bars
  • rolls of quarters for laundry
  • handmade pictures from younger siblings
  • fancy teas or coffees
  • antibacterial spray or lotion
  • DVDs and CDs

Send a Note

Sometimes, a simple note is the best thing you can send. Whether you write your own or pick up a greeting card at Hallmark, it's an easy way to remind your college student that you care. Sure, these days you can send a text message or be friends on Facebook, but there's still something special about a handwritten note that arrives in the mail.

For an extra special treat, include a gift card to a favorite restaurant or coffee shop inside your card. Or, if you really want to go all out, how about including a plane ticket home?

Other Care Package Tips

  • When you aren't sure what to send, ask what your college student needs! Surprises are fun, but sometimes it's better to be practical.
  • If you're packing items yourself, consider using a plastic container that can be easily re-used. Remember, space in a college dorm is usually at a premium.
  • Be sure that any food you send is non-perishable. It seems like a no-brainer, but it's a good reminder.
  • If you want to send many varieties of cookies but don't want to bake them all yourself, host a Care Package College Cookie Exchange with other local moms who have children in college as well. Less work, and more fun!

Do you send care packages to your college student? What kinds of items do you like to include?