If you are thinking of attending college, the first and foremost thing you must do is fill and submit the FAFSA. The FAFSA or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is filled by students every year, to apply for grants including the Pell Grant, Federal Work-Study and Federal student loans.
The FAFSA forms are available around November and are accepted from January 1st every year. Try submitting it as soon as possible because aids are given on first come first serve basis. Make sure you have all the necessary documents, tax receipts, income certificates and institutional codes which need to be sent along with the form. Most FAFSA forms are rejected because they are incomplete. Hence it is absolutely necessary to submit completed forms. If your parents are absent due to some reason or are mentally challenged, then the principal, college administrator or school counselor may sign on their behalf. In case on online form submission, make sure to receive the message that your form is submitted or else data will be lost.