By junior or senior year of high school, sometimes even earlier, students find themselves at critical crossroads where they have to make high-stakes choices related to college, alternative programs, a gap year, or initial career alternatives. The seemingly endless number of options to consider can feel overwhelming for both students and their parents. It is ironic that these key decisions must be made during a time period when young adults are most caught up in the busyness created by the demands of multiple academic, extracurricular, and social commitments. Many are also distracted by the pressures of preparing for and taking standardized tests like the SATs and ACTs. For some students, the already-stressful planning and decision-making process is complicated by learning issues related to executive functioning, like ADD.

In other cases, a surprising number of college and older students find themselves facing graduation with no clear career direction or confidence in choosing a graduate education that will be both stimulating and lead to meaningful employment. Some have already entered the world of work but are not happy with their choices.

In each instance, young adults are expected to make important decisions without the benefit of examining vital information about themselves to determine what study or career fields, roles, and environments might be best suited to their own particular interests, skills, and personalities. The college or job search can therefore be daunting, difficult, and discouraging for all who are invested in the outcome.


To address these concerns and our belief that the planning process should not only be manageable but also exciting and rewarding, we have developed the Explorations™ program for young adults between the ages of 16 and 26. The program is tailored for:

  • high-school students engaged in making college, program, or gap-year decisions (for students involved in a college search, appropriate colleges are identified, and coaching is provided to facilitate the application process);
  • college and post-graduate students choosing study areas or career fields;
  • young people who may or may not have attended college who are attempting to identify suitable work situations.

The Explorations™ program:

  • provides in-depth self-assessment whereby participants survey significant individual interests, skills, and personality traits that will influence the degree of success and satisfaction experienced in new academic, work, or life situations;
  • provides a format to gather data, explore academic or career options, establish important goals, and formulate short- and/or long-term action plans for the future.

We also work with students who have learning issues and need to improve their planning, organization, and time-management skills to facilitate their search process.

The Explorations™ process requires meetings over a day and a half and includes follow-up support, regardless of the nature of the transition. For all participants, questionnaires and autobiographical exercises are completed in advance of the program and discussed when the meetings take place.

We have been delighted by the response of young adults (and their parents) who have participated in the Explorations™ program. A few of their comments are noted below.

For more information, please call Yenawine Lifeworks, LLC (toll free) at 888.482.9036 or contact us via email at Ellen@YenawineLifeworks.com.


“Working with Ellen and Gardner on focusing my career path, which, as it turns out, has a great deal to do with my life path, has been incredibly rewarding and enlightening. Even now, years after completing the initial program, I can still return to my binder and have the tools to analyze my latest experiences and make my next choice independently and with confidence.”
College graduate enrolling in the Harvard Graduate School of Education

“I came to understand a great deal about my learning style and personality type and how to use them to my advantage in the classroom and in life. I came feeling insecure about academics and my college choices and now know that I can tackle any challenge I face. Ellen, I cannot thank you enough.”
High school student who will attend Boston College

“I felt overwhelmed and stuck; I didn’t even want to think about next steps, but once I began to understand what really interested me and what skills I really loved using, I discovered new possibilities I could believe in and pursue. I now feel great about the college and the career track I have chosen, and I’m excited about what lies ahead.”
High school student attending George Washington University

“Thanks so much for your help, insight, and thoroughness. Our son feels so much more confident about his future. He’s seriously considering a planned gap year so he can then go about the college application process in a more intentional way. It’s such a relief for his father and me!”
Parent of high school senior


You can reach us by emailing us directly from our site or by calling us at 603-526-4290.