Parents of high school students can save thousands of dollars in college costs if their child takes AP (advanced placement) courses in high school. If your child has the ability to take an AP class and pass the national subject area AP exam, they should go for it. Besides the fact that colleges like to admit students that have taken challenging high school course work, many colleges offer earned credits and even advanced standing to students entering with several AP classes. For many families this can add up to huge savings.

Say that your child attends a private college that accepts AP credits. Room, board and tuition at such a school can cost over $50,000 a year. If that college accepts AP credits, they may offer your student advanced standing as they treat those credits as if they were earned in college. Consequently, your child could enter his first year of college as a sophomore. Even if your child doesn’t have quite enough AP credits for an entire year’s advancement, he can take an extra course or two (for free as usually no extra charge is imposed for extra classes in a semester) over his attendance to make up the missing credits. The result is that he’ll only need three years of college to graduate. Even if he doesn’t have enough AP credits for an entire year, he might graduate in three and a half years and cut out the cost of one semester ($25,000).

If your student still wants the four year college experience after his third year, he could take Master’s Degree level courses. If he wants to continue in the undergraduate world, he’ll have the time to double his major or minor, making himself more marketable to future employers. In almost any scenario, not only will your child be better educated, but you or he will reap financial rewards from his hard work and the minimal costs of AP exams.