This qualitative study explores the ways in which high school students in Croatia go through the process of making their college decision, and attempts to identify the key factors that influence their decision to choose a certain college. The study used focus group methodology to gain deeper understanding of the thought process students go through from the moment they start thinking about colleges, to the moment they make their final decision. The results of this research show that high school students in Croatia tend to start thinking more seriously about where they will continue their education in the third and, more often in their fourth (last) grade of high school. They are often not proactively searching for options, but relying on what they think they know and what they think they will be good at. In addition to that, there seems to be a lack of professional support in high schools, so students’ are making their decisions based on their limited understanding on options and possibilities that they have. The research showed that parents play an important role in the process in most of the cases, either by supporting their children, or by questioning and directing them towards something they believe is a good choice.

The results of this research might be beneficial to high school administrators and advisors who would like to better understand their students, to colleges and universities in their efforts to attract new students, but also to the governmental agencies and ministries when trying to develop new education and employment strategies in Croatia.

Publication Date


Document Type

Master's Project

Student Type


Degree Name

Service Leadership and Innovation (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Department of Service Systems (CAST)


Jennifer Matic


RIT Croatia