One thing about going to college while your child is young -- the importance of education is instilled in your child. They watch you learn, struggle, and place priority on education. College becomes real to them. My daughter does not talk about "if" she goes to college, she talks about "when." As a seventh grader, she focuses on her grades, and she is already researching colleges. Her current passion is dance and she says that is what she wants to do, but she is also realistic and wants a "back up" plan.
What is incredible to me is talking to her friends. They have none of that drive or focus. College is something they might do, and if they go, it's social and maybe some working. After much deliberation I have come to the conclusion that while there are lots of sacrifices being made, one of the pluses or blessings is that I have not had to work at instilling the value of education in my daughter.... she knows it. When, not if.