What helped "light a fire" under me was having my parents explain how much my ideal college will cost. They went over tuition costs, supply costs, and living costs. Then I compared it to the money Ive been saving up since the day I was born, which is only a few thousand. It was a huge reality check. My parents will be helping me pay but they have more than one kid to send to college and they cant take care of everything. These types of things are what you should discuss with your kid. Make them realize college is just over the horizon and soon they are going to have to pay for it.