Once you get into your senior year of high school apply for every scholarship you can. Make it your job. Lots of them require essays, but if you think about it at most it'll take you a couple hours to write it, and even if it's only a $500 scholarship, you still just got yourself paid around $250 an hour for the work it took to get it. Thats a much better hourly rate than you'll get from any job you could get as a high school senior. Also the fact that many times you can reuse the same essay for many scholarships, because many of them have very similar essay topics.
I was wondering how people are paying for their colleges, especially out of state. Out of state tuition (both public and private) for college seems close to $30,000 a year, which for me is no small sum. I'd gladly go out of state if it weren't for this cost issue. Are people getting scholarships? Loans? Jobs? Since I'm likely to do a double major, finding a job during the school year would seem to defeat the purpose of affording college for me. Places like Stanford and MIT have very strong financial aid programs, but you still leave college with big loans to pay off, which is something that worries me. Maybe this is just the way college goes.
There are many web sites that offer help with locating scholarships, and your school's guidance counselor should also be able to help out in that respect.
I did a lot of work and ended up with a ton of scholarships as well as a hefty one from the college I'm going to.
It seems like a pain in the ass to do all the filling out of forms and essay writing, but really it's the best way to earn money for college without getting a loan. I'm not saying you won't have to possibly get loans in addition to the scholarship money, but every scholarship dollar you get is money you don't have to borrow and pay interest on.