In this article we develop an actor-centered perspective guiding the analysis of processes of educational decision making, as an alternative to the established concepts of research on educational choice. Starting whith a discussion of known shortcomings of past and recent research, we understand educational decision making as a complex process. Definite criteria of choice – that can be named by the actors, i.e. parents – arise during this processes, and as such should be understood not as starting points, but as outcomes of educational choice. Using data of an ongoing qualitative research project, we show how directing the attention away from reasons of choice themselves and towards the processes of their emergence allows a deeper understanding of educational choice.