Shorten your time in college. Transfer all those AP credits and do not believe the school that says it just isn't the same as actually taking Composition 1. BS.
My child transferred in 28 or 29 (I can't remember) credits, and she found her school started a "Degree in 3 years" program. (Rowan University, NJ) She completed her freshman (and sophomore) years of college in one year, via 2 semesters and a summer course, and will enter as a Junior in the fall. She worked hard, to be sure (3.9 GPA), but the transferred credits helped lighten her load. The summer course was on campus and both housing and tuition were covered by the college because she is in the degree in 3 year program - we paid to feed her, but we nicely do that anyway ;)
The bit about outside scholarships ---- and I know a lot about this --- they are ALL very competitive, and most of them are for graduating seniors in high school only.
People who haven't done the research will throw out stuff about scholarships (for example) when you are very tall that are so easy to get because no one applies. Yeah, ok. Blunt talk - that is a bunch of BS.
My daughter researched for an entire summer, very efficiently. I could give out that list, but I don't, because part of the process of growth and maturity is learning to do the work yourself. My daughter did - she organized a brilliant list, with all the opening dates, URLs, due dates, amount of the award and her status. She worked on it, writing custom essays, getting letters of recommendation, hitting those deadlines, every single day of her senior year starting with doing the research in June to generate the list thru the following March when the last legitimate scholarship she was eligible for closed.
She is a smart girl, she has raised 3 puppies for a guide dog program, she has leadership, more volunteer hours in other areas (for many years, not just for one event). She is not a minority, and we are not financial needy. She won $8,000 or thereabouts. Meanwhile, she found the school she attends, which offers significant merit aid and has that degree in 3 years program. From them she was awarded $11,500 a year. The COA of that school is about 28,000. It will work out that she can graduate with ZERO debt. The searching and project managing she did was valuable and she learned a lot, but it wasn't just a simple little "toss hat in the ring at the last minute and win tons of money" that everyone who doesn't know likes to pretend it is.
On the other hand my foster son is a year older than her, a minority and economically needy. He worked extremely hard also, and won the Gates Millennium Scholarship and well as the Horatio Alger state level scholarship. There were 1,000 winners of Gates ---- and 57,000 applicants. Let me say it again - there are no easy to win, un-competitive scholarships.
If money is really tight, you should find a school you can commute to, saving big bucks on housing. Since you will need grad school, do the best you can to keep debt low, and grades high, so you will be competitive for admission to grad school and maybe get money. I'm not familiar with this, so I won't offer any advice.
Look into programs for summer experiences in your field that pay a stipend. If that doesn't work, look or create volunteer opportunities to help at kids summer camps, assisted living, hospital or rehab facilities where your major will leave you :) There are always volunteer opportunities, and you can learn a lot from them.
I was in the honors program long ago at TSC (yes THAT long ago).
My mom used to say "you are who your friends are". I found that to be so true. I rose to the level I was around - being around the super smart honors kids raised my game. We are still friends today.
Centennial looks to have been renovated 7 or 8 years ago. It used to be a dump. Now it seems to offer some nice community and a lot of chances for social interaction, which is so valuable your first year. If it also offers you a chance to live with upperclassman as a freshman, even better. I always had that, and I strongly disagree with putting all freshman together in one dorm.
Best of luck to you!
Please provide your stats and what scholarships you won.
My daughter won $8,000 in outside scholarships, including Carson, Comcast, Simon Youth and several local only ones. She was very organized and applied to over 100. Her qualifications included raising 3 guide dog puppies, editor of high school newspaper, 3.7 unweighted/4.0 weighted and 1260/1600 SAT. She got much more money (11,500 a year from Rowan University in NJ) in merit aid from the school she attended. Because of AP transfer of 29 credits and lots of effort, she will graduate in 3 years. Currently has a 3.9 GPA and enters her junior year in the fall. She did not qualify for any ethnic or low income based scholarships. She did win a $1,000 scholarship from the college in addition to the merit aid this spring.
I would strongly disagree with the idea to set expectations on winning scholarships easily to pay for these schools. I would advise the OP to concentrate on finding affordable schools and not to waste money applying to expensive schools you realistically won't be able to attend. One or two dream applications, fine, but don't drop $1,000 applying to 10 places instead of focusing on the schools you can afford (and will enjoy especially coming out with low debt!).
I also have a foster son who won Gates Millennium. There were 57000 applicants, 1,000 winners. That is a huge amount of competition. Nothing is easy money.
My foster son applied and won as part of the 2015 class. It was an extensive process, 57,000 applicants, 2000 semifinalists (no money given out at this level) and 1,000 winners.
The process for the "new" Gates opens on July 15 and closes on Sept 15th, I have to believe that is going to have a huge negative impact on the number of applicants. Regardless, I would look back thru this forum, read especially Preston's (northernAZ) posts on how to write a good essay (he has since died, but he was a hugely helpful resource). Start working on your essays NOW. With what you are saying you have to offer, you should be applying to some of the other eligible scholarships - Elks, Jack Kent Cooke, Horatio Alger etc. It is going to take serious effort, but you probably have a solid month to work before school comes back in. Take a look at Courtney Thurston's mentions of other scholarships. Feel free to message me if you need any additional guidance. Best to you.