When applying to colleges, it is important to start the process early. It may seem like there is plenty of time to complete applications, but it is best to not procrastinate. When I applied to college five years ago, I did the early action route. I was accepted to some of my choices by the middle of my senior year.
Because I did early action, one of my choices, (and the school I actually attended) UMass Lowell, came to my high school to let some of the seniors in my class know that we had been accepted. Even though I had applied to five other schools, just knowing that I had already been accepted to a school was extremely comforting. I felt as though some of the pressure of applying early had faded away and I could really focus on the rest of my applications. I did get accepted to my other choices, but ultimately decided that UMass Lowell was the school for me.
I highly recommend early action applying for at least one of your choices. In addition to early action, another choice is early decision. Early decision means that if you are accepted to the school you applied to, you must attend. I advise doing this with your first choice school, and only if you are 100% sure that you want to attend. If you are accepted to your early action schools, you do not need to make a final decision until the normal deadline in May.
Early action allows you to put more focus on finishing your senior year strong and enjoying your last few months as a high school student. Time files during your senior year, and it is important to appreciate all that you have accomplished up until that point. College is a radically different experience than high school, and the best way to prepare for it is to research your options and apply as soon as you can. Enjoy your senior year and get applying!