Let's talk about motivations. One of the crucial fundamentals is analyzing the first thing that comes into your head about the elite college admissions process. Have you ever thought: "Hey, I never had the chance to go Ivy when I was a kid. So now, by gosh, my kid's gonna get that chance"? If so, you may suffer from VKS. You may be trying to relive your life through that of your kid's. Lots of potential land mines here, folks.
Okay. What exactly does vicarious mean? In general, it means, "taking the place of another person." You have to ask yourself the hard question: "Do I want my kid to seek Ivy so that the 'prestige' [whatever that means] will rub off on me?" Be honest. You're reading this in private and no one is impatiently waiting for your answer. Just nod your head if it's true. You don't have to attend a VKSers Anonymous meeting, stand up, and say, "Hello. My name is Dave Berry and I want to live vicariously through my kid." Just be aware of your stance here.