Although athletes’ transition from secondary to higher education (HE) has been subject of research before, no empirical data are available on the reasons leading to the decision to initiate the combination of elite sport and HE. Therefore, the study’s main objective was to gain insight in the factors taken into consideration by athletes when deciding to initiate a dual career (DC) in HE. Fifteen Flemish elite athletes in secondary education (Mage = 17.8; 8 males, 7 females) participated in semi-struc- tured interviews. The data were analysed using thematic analysis, with the Holistic Athletic Career model (HAC) and Push Pull Anti-push Anti- pull as guiding theoretical models. Results showed that many different considerations, related to different levels of development (i.e. athletic, psychological, psychosocial, academic/vocational, financial), can influ- ence athletes’ decision to initiate a DC in HE. DC support providers could use the findings (i.e. the multitude and variety of factors influencing athletes’ decision to engage in a DC in HE) and the frameworks used in this study (i.e. the HAC model and Push Pull Anti-push Anti-pull frame- work) to support athletes in their decision process.