The start of the year means that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is now available. And while the FAFSA submission deadline for federal aid isn’t until June 30, 2016 (some state aid requires an earlier submission date), you shouldn’t waste any time in filling it out. The sooner you submit the FAFSA, the better your chances are to receive the best financial aid options.

We’ve covered the FAFSA quite a bit on our blog, so here are three articles that will help you get started:

Ignore the myths

There are plenty of reasons students don’t fill out the FAFSA. “I filled it out last year” and “my family makes too much money” are common reasons. They are also myths. Check out our infographic on Five FAFSA myths for college students to learn more.

Avoid the scams

Unfortunately, FAFSA scams are common these days. Remember, the first F in FAFSA stands for “free.” You should never pay to file a free application. Read more about how to avoid FAFSA scams.

Learn about student loans

Student loans will be a part of your financial aid package. How much of your financial aid comes from student loans can depend on your decisions. Learning now will save you trouble and money down the line. Take a look at our infographic What you should know about student loans.

Filing out your FAFSA is a requirement of your higher education. However, that doesn’t mean it has to be a chore. Using common sense, planning ahead and staying focused can make the annual ritual a lot easier to manage.