Many colleges and universities award their financial aid packages on a first come first served basis and use January 1st as the baseline to establish a pecking order.
In other words, the closer you file your FAFSA to January 1st the sooner you may be awarded.
Once the FAFSA is filled out you can have the information sent to as many schools as you are interested in possibly attending.
If you qualify you may be able to receive over $5,000 to help with your college expenses and so the important thing is to get the whole process started as soon as possible.
To get more information and to start filling out the FAFSA go to FAFSA.GOV