Getting a 4-year degree in 3 years

This week, Money College presents two views of graduating college early by experts -- that is, students who took the three-year path through school. You can also read Money College blogger Sarah Dietze's companion piece about saving money by graduating early.

I've heard it time and time again: "College is the best time of your life. Why would you want to get out early?" Despite others' questioning my logic, graduating early has probably been one of the best decisions I've ever made.

Graduating early wasn't my original plan; I was just going to take it easy in college. Thanks to my Advanced Placement scores in biology, psychology, English literature and statistics, I was a sophomore by Christmas of my first year. Never pass up opportunities to take AP courses in high school. You'll either test out of a course or already be familiar with the material.

The financial incentive to graduate early was enough to convince me to put in the work and finish school before May, 2010. The average student at a public, four-year university pays about $7,000 per year for tuition before award packages. For those who choose private institutions, the yearly cost without any aid or scholarships averages $26,000. Add on room and board, and both college options have a hefty bill. I graduated just one semester early and saved myself approximately $10,000 in tuition. As a result, I am financially stable while searching for a career.