National Library Card Sign-Up Month – William McCluskey

Proper Channel believes that the sharing of knowledge makes better communities.  Few places work harder to help their communities grow than public libraries.  September is National Library Card Sign-Up Month, and we want to help.  We already have Boston, Tallahassee, and Philadelphia’s processes mapped, but would love more.  If you know how to get a library card in your city, please create a flowchart and share it with you local library!

(You can also use our “clone” tool to copy a chart for a similar process)

Bureaucracy Around the World – William McCluskey

Bureaucracy is just a word we use to describe poorly communicated process.  Many times the problem isn’t the process, but the lack of support offered by the company who owns the process.  Lots of times process becomes bureaucracy when scale overwhelms the system.

For example, let’s look at developing nations.  In a span of less than 20 years, a region can go from no power electricity to sophisticated online-payments.  Static documents just can’t keep up!  This is where Proper Channel comes in.  We allow people to share their knowledge turning your customers into your content generators.  When you treat your customer like a partner, great things can happen.

Bureaucracy around the world

Crowd-sourced Traffic Mapping – Danny Kramer

Shout-out to one of our awesome counterparts in the field of simplification. Waze is a great tool for dealing with traffic by getting live feedback for other people dealing with it as well. While our flowcharts can be used for simplifying processes before they are begun, this app–owned by Google but operated independently–is super useful for on-the-go decision and real-time planning when it comes to stress-reduced driving.

Mayday PAC – Danny Kramer

The Mayday PAC has two key features that we at Proper Channel also value: Collaboration and Crowd-sourcing. This group, aiming to get big money out of politics, was developed by leading thinkers on both sides of the aisle. Mayday’s emphasis on collecting individual donations and considering public suggestions submitted online will hopefully help make Lawrence Lessig’s vision of a “people’s SuperPAC” become a reality.


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!

ProperChannel.Co – Next Step for ‘How To’s’


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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.