It is astounding to me in this period of irresponsible and unethical business and political practices, that parents (and "providers") continue to openly encourage the need for and use of services or practices that take the completion of the college application away from a student. To me as an educator, it is the height of misplaced values and effectively demeans individual self-esteem. A student who must have someone else write (or heavily edit) his or her college application and essay is sent the message, either overtly or subtly, that he or she is incapable of successfully performing this function. After 12 or more years of supposedly good education, this student must have an "expert" or use some artificial means to get him or her into college. What an insult to the student.
Secondly, if this student truly is incapable of writing a good college essay or has not demonstrated strong abilities to those at the school or within the community, what business does he or she have in trying to attend and be successful in an institution where he or she is unable to meet the expectations. Imagine an athlete having a surrogate tryout for him in order to get onto a team; then only to get blown away by the other athletes. Where is the value of that, much less the ethics?
Parents MUST prepare students for the responsibilities of the future, but parents cannot live their child's life for them. Rejection and failure are part of life. We as parents will not always be there for these young "people"; they must learn their own abilities and how to improve them and how to use them. Do parents intend to "wipe the noses" of their children for the rest of their lives?
The college application process is a wonderful learning experience. Contrary to public myth, where one attends college is not a life or death option. A good, worthy student will have many good choices. Students should know that life is not where one goes to college, but what one does with the life and opportunity that is presented. A great learning ground for this is the college application -- parents should allow their son or daughter be in charge and should not try to manipulate the application process from behind the scenes. As parents and educators our goal is to empower our students and handling the process for them does the opposite.