Most student loans are given for a particular period of time. In other words, you get a loan to pay for college, then you have to start paying once you are done studying. You are usually given half a year to a year before the first payments have to kick in. Unsurprisingly, plenty of young professionals end up with a default on their loans due to missing their initial payments. There are no reasons to let that happen, so you better start planning early.
Knowing what you owe and being familiar with the payment plans is a main priority. From that point on, planning becomes a lot easier. You have numerous resources at your disposal to keep track of your regular payments as well. Loan consolidation used to represent a good option until a few years ago. Today, it is less likely to help you too much, so do not count on it. Instead, you might want to consider your aggressive payment strategy. There are a lot of helpful ideas and what works for some people is less likely to work for you too. Therefore, it does pay off to plan everything in small details before diving in and running out of money.