Request and complete all financial aid forms in a timely fashion.
Know each school's deadlines and apply early! Don't wait until the deadline. Avoid mail delays, busy fax lines and busy websites. Ask questions if you don't understand.
Complete your tax return early. It is easier to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and any other financial aid application if you can refer to a completed tax return. You can still wait until April 15 to mail your return to the IRS. If you must use estimated tax information, be as accurate as possible. Your financial aid eligibility is based on these numbers and is subject to change when the numbers change.
Read all instructions and follow them carefully. Check your work. Then, check your work again.
Respond immediately to school requests for additional information or documents, such as copies of federal tax returns.