LAKE TWP.  Searching for the right college or university can be stressful for any student.

Even when academics are the only concern, juggling admission costs, admission standards, academic programs and location still makes for a challenging equation. When a student is also looking to play sports at the college level, it adds a whole new level to the discussion.

Lake senior defensive lineman Alex Keith is one of the athletes seeking out his chance to continue his career in college and with months to go until signing day, he and his family are still sifting through the data.

“Pretty much the first thing I did was just the junior days back in the spring. They take you on a campus tour, then they run you around at their camps and show you all the facilities academically and athletically,” Keith said. “When you move into camp days evaluate they evaluate you athletically and you also do research on your own. I’ve looked into what colleges have the major I want.”

That major is pre-med, which Keith has known for some time that he wants to pursue. Both of his parents are physicians and seeing what they do on a daily basis, he’s interested in going in the same general direction for his career.

Talk to any college football coach and they’ll tell you that it’s difficult for a student-athlete in any major to keep up with classes during the season, and majoring in a subject like pre-med ups that degree of difficulty. Because his parents both went the same route academically, Keith has already gotten good input on what to expect.

“I’ve definitely had both of my parents tell me it’s going to be a heavy load for school and I think when some (college) coaches hear it, they’re surprised that I want to do both football and pre-med, but I want to pursue what I plan to do and work hard,” Keith said.

His list of possible college choices sits at seven or eight and he’s done camps or campus visits at schools such as Ohio Dominican, Notre Dame College, Hillsdale, Walsh, Malone and Lake Erie College. Seeing if he can play football at each has been part of the mix, but so has taking tours of each campus and finding out more about each one’s pre-med program.

Along with researching colleges that are strgonest in his desired major, Keith also got a head start on his career as a junior by being part of the Health Tech program at Lake High School. 

“Growing up in a household where both of my parents are physicians, I’ve always liked science and math and last year I was able to do the Health Tech program,” Keith said. “I really liked my teacher and learned a lot.”

While he tries to narrow down his college options, he’s also working to get ready for his senior season. Two-a-days are underway and will take up plenty of time in the weeks ahead. There is still work to be done when it comes to picking his destination for football at the next level, but helping the Lake Blue Streak win games takes top priority as the first game of the season nears.

There will be Saturdays when Keith accepts a college’s invitation to visit on a game day and watch the contest from the sideline, but the best way to prove what he can do at the college level at this point is to keep performing well in the classroom and on the field in high school.

Doing college research online is another way to move the process forward. Because there isn’t time to ask every question during a camp or campus visit, going online to review a college’s website and academic programs is a good way to learn more. Another stat Keith is interested in is how many students who go through a college’s pre-med program gain admission into the medical school of their choice.

With so many facts and factors to consider and the days until signing day zipping by quickly, Keith knows that his time to make a decision is limited. With his parents and coaches to help, he’s trying to sift through the information at hand and sign on the right dotted line on signing day. 

Reach Andy at 330-580-8936
On Twitter: @aharrisBURB