Preparing well in advance is strongly suggested so that unanticipated delays with letters of reference, mailings and official transcripts, for example, don’t ruin one’s chances. Required documents must be ready by set deadlines.
Again the emphasis on early preparation cannot be over-emphasized. Gathering data on financial aid available, tuition and other costs at different institutions, costs of living away from home, and then calculating how much money will be required, is a complicated process. Students need to involve their parents in the process as well, so that a workable strategy can be developed. The key to success is to formulate a realistic plan and work it aggressively.