Advice for high school seniors from NextStepU includes this important tip.
Fill out the FAFSA as soon as you can
For your freshman year, you need to send in your FAFSA very early (check specific deadlines). It is a pain, but make sure that you sit down with your parents and apply for federal financial aid as close to Jan. 1 as possible. *Note: Make sure you or your parent goes in and makes the appropriate changes to the FAFSA once the family receives its tax returns.*
Also check for any additional forms required by your state to determine eligibility for their financial aid program.
Click on Five New Year’s financial aid tips for seniors to see the complete list of recommendations.