For financial aid advice, I recommend you read the following article: http://www.stacyblackman.com/2007/06/26 ... hicago-gsb
If you are debating between applying in the 3rd round this year, or in the first round next year, I recommend you wait to apply until next year. Final rounds for a given school (be it round 3 or round 4) are often a bad strategy. For many schools, this is the time they are focused on completing their class and picking very specific profiles. In addition, if you submit an application in March and are not admitted, you do not have much time to regroup and improve your profile before reapplying in October for the next season.
Conrad and the Stacy Blackman
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MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap