Applying to College Part 3 – Danny Kramer

Parents, this is a good moment for me to discuss where you come in. It is totally understandable that work and family may leave you with little time to assist your children who are applying with all of this paperwork, but any assistance counts, even your presence alone. Many high schools PTAs, including mine, hold a meeting every spring to discuss the college application process. All parents and their children are invited, and covers a lot of good bases. If you cannot attend the meeting, contact a PTA representative and they will likely be able to send you the PowerPoint slides or notes used in the meeting. This forms the basis of a good checklist.

Many schools also schedule meetings in the spring for juniors applying the following year, their guidance counselors, and their parents. This is likely the only time that an applicant, guardians, and guidance counselor will be in the same room at the same time. Use this time! Taking even an hour off of work to attend it is well worth it. This can help parents and guardians familiarize themselves with deadlines their children need to meet. In addition, meeting an applicant’s parents is another aspect of how the guidance counselor can get to know the student better, providing personal insight that could be useful in writing a strong recommendation.

Parents, your presence and support can also be extremely helpful to your child in getting through a stressful time. While entering college requires independence—see my prior post on moving into campus—the work it takes to get to the gate requires many loving shoulders to lean on. Discuss with your children their ideas for application essays and hold mock interviews with them. If you or anyone else in your family went to college, share those experiences with your child; they could learn something from you that will make them a more informed, and more competitive, applicant.

Going back to applicants, another key component of the application is the section on extracurricular activities. Prior to beginning the application, each student should compile a list of all the activities they participated in, the number of hours spent on each, as well as leadership roles and awards won. It may seem unnecessary to make a separate document just for this, but it is extremely helpful. I recommend an Excel spreadsheet. We often forget to keep track of clubs and organizations through the high school years, and organizing them also makes it easier to think about which mean the most to you, and you can allocate emphasis on each accordingly in the application.

That’s it for this series of post; I hope it was helpful! Readers, remember to leave comments with your thoughts or questions for me and I’ll be sure to answer them.


We’re growing the team

Having been accepted into the Domi Ventures Incubator, now is the time for us to hit the ground running.  We have a stable product, early users, initial partners, and we want to grow all of that as fast and as smart as possible.  if you’re looking to make the world a better place, why not join the company that’s going to do it?

We're Hiring Sign writes about Proper Channel!

Will has been a long time reader of Brian Hart’s work.  Brian writes gear and tech review blogs for  His articles are direct, clear, and seem to capture exactly what someone wants to know about a product.  Looking for some feedback on the site, Will reached out to Brian.  After going through the demo, Brian was impressed, liked our mission, and offered to write an article about us!

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Applying to College Part 2 – Danny Kramer


Hello, readers! I hope you all had a fun Independence Day weekend, with lots of food, fun, and fireworks. This week I bring you post number two of my three-part series covering the college application process. Here we will continue discussing the common app along with additional paperwork and the role of the high school main office.


Keep in mind, the common app may not be the easiest website to navigate. For the last several years there were common complaints regarding poor layout of pages, confusing instructions, and difficulty transitioning from page of the application to the next. Largely in response to this criticism, the website underwent major changes last year, but there were many bugs in its first rollout. The Daily Beast covered this last November at the following link: ttp:// We here at ProperChannel hope that our website will help avoid issues like this, but for now we must make the best with what is available. The best advice on the common app is to prepare in advance. This is not something you will do in one sitting or even in one day. During junior year one should begin gathering materials that will be required. This way when it comes to actually completing the application most of the effort will be filling boxes because you’ll already know what to put in them.


Request a transcript from your high school’s main office in advance, they will have to submit it to your desired schools on your behalf, but you have to prepare the envelopes. This reminds me of a more general point that my guidance counselor shared with me in June of my junior year of high school: Buy lots of envelopes, manila and white. Every school may require at least a few for different things, and the multiplication starts to add up. Also by adhesive labels on which you can computer print the addresses of the admissions offices of all your target schools. This way you avoid the risk of the postal service misreading your handwriting, which could cause delays in application processing that could be disastrous for your admissions success. These addresses can be accessed on the schools’ websites, so this is another item one can check off the to-do list in advance.


Back to specific deliverables. Talk to teachers early about recommendations. Different ones are more willing to write than others, and students generally know who’s who, so it is likely that the teachers you ask will receive many other requests. These recommendations may be in the format of a letter, a fill-out form with substantial “additional comments” space (think of this as a mini-letter), or both. These forms can be coordinated with your high school’s office, but this is something you must be on top of. Speaking of the high school office, many high schools have guidance counselors or post-high school advisers. These people are an invaluable resource. They have extensive experience with the application process, may also need to write you recommendations, and some even have contacts in certain admissions offices. Be sure to speak to them early and regularly. Again, I cannot emphasize enough how knowledgeable and helpful they are.


That’s it for now. Next week will be the last part of our college application series, discussing the role parents play in the application process along with some more requirements for the application and interviews.

We are in! – Proper Channel

Last week, Proper Channel received some great news. We were accepted into the Domi Ventures incubator in Tallahassee, Florida.

Domi Ventures is a new startup space in Tallahassee, Florida with co-working space, events, university and bushiness partnerships, and a new incubator program. Being accepted into the program gives us access to their leadership team, lead by Domi Ventures co-founder and CEO Micah Widen, and working space for 4 months in the accelerator.

We’re thrilled to be part of Tallahassee’s new startup community, and can’t wait to get started.

Applying to College Part 1 – Danny Kramer

While many of you may be celebrating the Independence Day weekend around now, the month of July is of note to many younger people for a different reason. This is the time when many rising high school seniors begin thinking about applying to college. Some may have visited campuses last spring, and many have gotten advice from family, teachers, and older friends. The college application process can be an exciting step in the lives of many high school graduates, but this excitement does not come without its stresses. This post is my first of three focusing on the college application process.

Applying to college is a challenge not only in its academic requirements, but also in its bureaucratic complexity. There number of moving parts involved in submitting all the application materials, attending interviews, and being awarded acceptance are almost too many to count. For many high school students—who do not yet have full time jobs, leases, or mortgages—this is also the first big bureaucratic milestone of their lives. It may be cynical to think of milestones in terms of bureaucracy, but sadly many of the best things in life come with a lot of paperwork. Furthermore, not only is applying to college complicated, but it is a lot more complicated than it used to be not too long ago. Before the internet or computers, technological limitations prevented the necessary documentation from reaching such critical mass.

Older graduates—especially college-educated parents of current applicants—often do not realize how much there is to do; in their day, there were few enough standardized exams to fit on one sheet of paper. While the advent of online applications may appear to have reduced physical paperwork, in truth the increase in application requirements by schools more than makes up for it. Besides primary materials submitted online, there are also supplemental applications specific to each school and hardcopies of teacher recommendations, all of which have to be printed out anyway and mailed to each school applied to.

To parents and rising seniors, all the headaches of applying can be avoided if one understands the process in advance. We’ll start with the Common Application, often referred to as the “common app.” This is a website designed to host the main application components for all American colleges that have agreed to participate, which is just about all of them. Each applicant creates an account and then inputs necessary information into the presented boxes. This includes everything from identifying information—name, address, social security number, etc.—to high school grades, test scores, and extracurricular activities. This main application also asks for an essay of 650 words or less, responding to a presented prompt or written on a topic of choice. One then selects which schools one wishes to apply to and is given access to supplemental materials, more specific questions regarding high school activities and additional shorter essay specific to each college, ie “What do you like about our school?” and “What will you contribute to our campus community?”

With that, I wish you all a good long weekend. Watch some fireworks and barbeque! I’ll be back next week discussing the hurdles that the common app comes with and some of the paperwork applicants need to obtain from their high school offices and teachers.