What can I do to increase my chances of winning some outside scholarships?

<p>I'm a junior and my dream schools are Stanford, Vanderbilt, and USC. I'm pretty confident that I will be able to get into these schools, but it's just a matter of paying for school.</p>

<p>HOW/WHERE CAN I GET SCHOLARSHIP MONEY FOR THESE SCHOOLS AND HOW CAN I IMPROVE MY CHANCES OF WINNING CONTESTS?? HOW CAN I START GETTING MONEY AS A JUNIOR? (I don't want to have to wait to try to get all my scholarship money last minute/senior year)</p>

<p>I'm the youngest in a family of 5 kids and currently only one other sibling is still in college. My parents combined make over $200,000/year so I don't think I will be able to get much financial aid from schools. However, my parents don't have much money to pay for my college education because they have spent so much money paying (and still paying) for my other siblings. </p>

<p>I know I have the option of going to a state school possibly on a full ride, but I just want to know how I could get some money, outside scholarships or school scholarships, in order to go to Stanford, Vanderbilt, or USC. </p>

<p>Here are my stats:
Ethnicity- African American
Gender- Female
Classification- Junior (graduating 2013)
State- GA
GPA- 4.34 (weighted) I'm not sure what it is unweighted... maybe 3.9
Class Rank- 5 out of I think 475 - top 2% at one of the top public schools in the nation
(Took 1 AP sophomore year, taking AP Calc BC and AP Physics now, next year plan on taking AP Biology, AP Econ/Gov, AP World Lit, AP Stat, AP Spanish)
SAT- taking it in December
ACT- haven't taken it yet
PSAT- I took it at the beginning of sophomore year and got 201, I don't know my new scores yet</p>

-captain of basketball team as a sophomore and head captain as aJunior (will remain captain for rest of high school)
-state ranked basketball player
-100+ hours of community service
-board member of key club (I will probably be president my senior year)
-started a tutoring program for the middle school basketball program
-National Honor Society</p>

<p>Thanks in advance!</p>

<p>Don't type your applications in ALL CAPS (like in this post). It seems like you're shouting.</p>

<p>Develop and practice telling and writing your story - what you do and why you do it. How you've contributed - what you want to do in the future.</p>

<p>Neatness counts. Learn how to typeset your applications. It takes quite a bit of extra time to line things up on forms, but it makes a big difference. Many scholarship applications are online. Keep electronic files of essays, short answers, and answers to common questions so that you can cut and paste.</p>

<p>Be patient. Most scholarships are for high school seniors. Use this time to continue to develop yourself and be ready to go with college and scholarship applications late summer. Coca-Cola is a big one that is due early - October.</p>

<p>Haha sorry about the all caps. It was my way of highlighting my key questions. </p>

<p>Thanks for the response! I'll definitely take those tips into consideration.</p>

<p>Above website is a scam at worst, illegal sweepstakes at best. I have reported the post to the mods.</p>

<p>You need to be aware that many/most private scholarships are for FRESHMAN year only. So, those aren't going to help you pay for 4 years of college. And, many are not for large amounts.</p>

<p>The biggest scholarships that are for all four years are from colleges.</p>