It’s more than giving students a challenge in classrooms: Gifted programming positively influences students’ LIVES. Several studies have shown that gifted programs have a positive effect on students’ post-secondary plans. For example, studies found that 320 gifted students identified during adolescence who received services through the secondary level pursued doctoral degrees at more than 50X the base rate expectations.  In a follow-up report on the same study participants at age 38, 203 participants, or 63%, reported holding advanced degrees. Of these, 142 (44%) held doctoral degrees and, 8 of these 142 had more than one doctoral degree. As a benchmark for this, the authors of this study compared these rates to the general U.S. population, noting that only approximately 2% of the general population held a doctoral degree according to the 2010 U.S. Census. 
Additionally, in a study looking at gifted students who participated in talent development through competitions, the researchers reported a long-term impact on these students’ postsecondary achievements, with 52% of the 345 students who participated having earned doctoral degrees. 
Further benefits of gifted programs have been shown to include that students who had participated in gifted programs maintained their interests over time and stayed involved in creative, productive work after they finished college and graduate school. 
A sample of 2,409 intellectually ADVANCED adolescents (top 1%) who were assessed on the SAT by age 13, and provided services through a talent search program, was tracked longitudinally for more than 25 years. Their accomplishments, with particular emphasis on literary achievement and scientific-technical innovation, were examined. Results showed that distinct ability patterns identified by age 13 foreshadowed creative accomplishments in middle age. Among the sample, participants had earned 817 patents and published 93 books, one had been awarded the Fields Medal in mathematics, and another had won the John Bates Clark Medal for the most outstanding economist under 40.