The Education Conservancy developed this handy list of guidelines for parents:
Recognize that gaining admission to college is merely one step in a process of education that will include your student attending a college where she or he can maximize talents and growth. Emphasize the education.
Resist doing for your students what they are capable of doing for themselves.
Allow your child to take responsibility for his or her own part of the college application process. Be involved in the process, but do not try to control it.
Resist relying on rankings and college selectivity to determine the most suitable colleges for your child.
Realize that researching, selecting, and applying to colleges does not have to be an expensive process. ...