Went down to the Amon Carter Exhibit Hall last evening for College Night. My younger daughter is a junior this year and wants to be a teacher. I thought junior year was a good time to get started on this process. Wrong. Just a word of advice: a) start pre-planning in middle school - getting the student involved in band/sports/groups/organizations, etc. b) start the college/scholarship research in the freshman year of HS. Yikes. I'm two years behind. Not too late, but I have a lot of work to do to catch up.
The best place to start is the guidance counselor or the college counselor at your child's school. This is one of his or her primary jobs. They will know of local and regional scholarships that you probably will not find on the Internet. If you want to your child to attend a community college for 'the basics' before sending them to the big school to finish the degree, make sure the credits will transfer to their school of choice - or at least find out which ones will transfer. Each college should have an equivalency guide that'll help you with this.
A few more *important* tips:
a) keep on top of deadlines
b) make sure the student really qualifies for the scholarships applying for
c) when essays are required, make sure the essay addresses the essay topic or answers the question
d) make sure the essays are proofed and spell-checked (have many people read them to make sure they are the best they can be)
Well that's all I have for now... Happy scholarship hunting to you.