Successful transition from school to university is essential for the academic success of any student. Gifted students might encounter unique challenges due to their characteristics, and there is an evidence that a failure to adjust to the demands of university environment has a negative effect on gifted students’ academic performance, leading to underachievement. This qualitative study aimed at exploration of gifted students’ adjustment to university and issues they face within this process. We use the lenses provided by self-determination theory to further interpret the role of both internal and external motivation forces contributing to gifted students’ adjustment and achievement in higher education settings. It was identified that the gifted school and university learning environments, as well as the influence of key people (parents, peers, and teachers) played a crucial role in facilitating or impeding gifted school graduates’ sense of self-determination and consequently their adjustment and achievement. This study offers interesting insights for the understanding of gifted (under)achievement in a context where giftedness is predominantly conceived as high intelligence and academic achievement, gifted students are identified via performance-based measures, specialized schools are the preferred means for gifted education, and young people’s talents are considered invaluable for the development of the national economy and the society.
- gifted students
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology