After spending 17 years guiding a child successfully to senior year, it's only natural for parents to want to be involved in the college process--particularly in today's high-stakes admissions climate. But being supportive and offering counsel and advice is one thing; taking over the process is another. Admissions officers are literally filling books (check out How to Raise an Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims) with tales of parents who attend classes with their students or make calls to professors to discuss student grades--clearly, some parents are getting a little too involved.
So, what's the right balance between being supportive and helping too much as your student prepares to leave the nest? Reading your child's essay is a great help; rewriting it is not. Checking completed applications for errors and oversights is appropriate; completing your child's college applications for him/her is not. For more on this topic, read 6 Things You Should Never Do As the Parent of a College Applicant--preferably before you end up as a cautionary tale in an admissions officer's latest book!