What's the most important thing when it comes to preparing to get a student loan?
Before applying for a loan, determine how much you will actually need and what you can contribute personally through savings and working. Are there scholarships and grants you can apply to? If so, have you done so? You can work with a school financial advisor and a career advisor. There are a lot of scholarships that are passed up each year because students didn't apply.
Don't apply for more than what you need. Take it from someone who applied for a little extra which becomes a lot extra after I've graduated. Look into Federal loans versus private loans. These are easier to refinance and consolidate after graduating and have better repayment options, especially for income based repayment.
Take a look at the federal student aid site for more information about student loans.
Cara recommends the following next steps: