When a client brought her rising 11th grader over for a visit, she remarked that people were asking her if she was starting too early. That thought process is costly to parents and students. The rising level of competition that students face and the rising expense that parents face is a great reason to start early.
Starting early allows time to determine major which improves the suitability of the list of colleges students are considering. Starting early also helps students realize what grades and test scores they need before it is too late to make improvements.
Finally, starting early helps parents understand what they are up against in terms of costs and what their options are. These are things best known earlier so that parents can prepare and consider options.