You can talk about obstacles and runway lengths and not flying into the sun and all sorts of other minutiae that probably don't apply in calm conditions in a Cessna 172.
At some point you've decided that there's no one in the pattern, but you're going to keep looking for traffic throughout the pattern just like you learned from your CFI, and you have to pick a runway.
For me, I'll pick the one that requires the least amount of flying, just like the Hawker 800 pilot will do.
I realize that this technique is not for everyone, but if I'm heading southbound, and there's a nice N/S-ish runway, I'll make that straight in, just like it says in this AOPA article:
Straight-in approaches are always a topic for discussion. Under VFR
conditions they are acceptable only if there is no conflict with other
If I'm heading southbound, and there's an E/W-ish runway, I'll enter a long L or R base, regardless of which way traffic pattern is. If I care about the traffic pattern for some reason (obstacle or noise abatement), I'll make an overhead entry, which means overfly the airport and enter left or right downwind.
If you're uncomfortable with a straight-in, base, or overhead entry, look for the runway where you can make a downwind or 45 entry with the least amount of maneuvering for L or R traffic as per the chart: