Let's break this down a bit. There are TWO kinds of aid: need-based aid and merit-based aid. Which is it that you need?
Go to Finaid.org
to calculate your estimated EFC (expected family contribution). If it's quite low, then you should be looking for schools that offer generous need-based aid
. These tend to be the more competitive private colleges and universities. You can look at the Princeton Review
website to see the financial aid rankings of different schools. You'll be looking for schools with very high FA rankings - as close to 100 as possible.
If your family income is too high for you to qualify for need-based aid, then you need to apply to schools that offer merit-based aid
. And, to find the right schools, you just have to look at schools where your GPA and ACT/SAT scores would be above average
(preferably way above average!) for that school. Again, look at Princeton Review - and this time you're looking at the admissions rankings of each school. Look for private schools that you can easily get into - and then check the school websites to see what kind of merit aid they offer.
Keep in mind that if you need merit-based aid, there's no point in looking at schools where your GPA and test scores are just average for that school. You have to focus on schools where you would really be the exceptional candidate - that's what it's going to take to get the best merit awards!
If you have very strong stat's (high GPA and test scores), then you can also look at schools that offer guaranteed merit scholarships
. In other words, if your ACT score is above "X", the scholarship is guaranteed! These are often state schools, and you can find them listed here
If you did well enough on the PSAT to qualify as a National Merit Finalist, that gives you other scholarship options as well.
All of these will serve you better than a one-time independent scholarship award that will only be good for one year. Unless you only want to go to school for one year . . .