Parents, so much has changed since we went to college. Gone are the days of lugging a big word processor up seven flights of stairs to the dorms along with an entire record collection. Phone cards to call grandma are also a thing of the past. Today's college freshmen bring less (and in some ways, more) with them than we ever did.

Here are some get-ready-for-the-dorms gift ideas that you can try out on your freshmen regardless of how hip (or not) you are.

Gift Cards Worth Giving

If you plan on giving gift cards to your freshman, consider touring around the campus and the nearby town. What universal chains are there that they might have a use for but won't splurge unnecessarily? If there's a coffee place with a gift or membership program, go with that — especially if they sell food as well as coffee so that you can pretend the kid is sort of eating healthy.

For Procrastinators

There's not a student alive that hasn't waited till the last minute to do a project or an assignment. On the other end, there's not an instructor alive that hasn't heard "I ran out of paper / toner / fill in the blank." Check out a gift card for a nearby office supply place.

For Foodies

Is there a Trader Joe's or another healthy grocery chain in the area? Give them a card for it. They'll be staying up late, and they'll be hungry. 

For Drivers

Are they keeping their cars at school? Commuting? Consider a gas card gift certificate. Be cautious when giving your teen a credit card for a gas station, though, because you never know when their judgment is going to fly south for the winter.

Help Them Stay Clean and Bandaged

No matter what decade you're in or where you are, every college student can benefit from a home-packed laundry basket. Send your student off to college with a big plastic laundry basket filled with a semester's worth of cleaning products: laundry detergent, fabric strips, bleach wipes, mini broom and dust pan. You can find products at a dollar store or in an organic non-toxic care package from the local co-op.

Add a few rolls of paper towels and tissues. Put a couple rolls of quarters in the bottom of the basket for those laundry machines. 

Pack a first-aid kit for your college freshman as well as a sewing kit. These don't have to be elaborate — in fact, you don't want to take up too much space in a small dorm room, but these are things they won't buy for themselves that could really come in handy in case of emergency.

The Gift of Friendship

Build your new college student a support group. Maybe she is choosing a major that you don't know about, but you know someone who studied the same thing. Introduce them for a possible protégé or mentor. Do you know someone who lives in the new town your child will be living in? It's worth an introduction. 

When students go off to college, you have to work around them. Remember, they know everything now and don't need you, right? Be stealthy. Send them off with the right gift cards for the necessities, remember the essentials that they won't remember at all, and introduce them to people they'll need or want to know in the future. Voila. You just made it through her first semester!