Ethics are important. None of the participants in the college search process should ever lie, cheat, or mislead to gain admission into a school. Since part of the process is to develop the student, it is important to develop the character of the student as well as the skills of the student. Later in life, people will be more interested in the character of the student and what the student accomplished in college than what postsecondary institution the student attended.
“Operation Varsity Blues,” the college admissions investigation that famously led to guilty pleas from celebrities like Laurie Laughlin and Felicity Huffman, shows the disservice that can be done to students even if the parents have the best of intentions. A marginal applicant can develop greatly by learning how to self-advocate. The children could have learned a lot by meeting with admission officers and making the case as to why they should be admitted despite having elements on their application that were less than stellar. The experience of self-advocating would also be a great experience to have when applying for jobs as the children establish their careers.
Here is a guide for parents on the topic of ethics and college admissions: Ethical Parenting in the College Admissions Process — Making Caring Common (harvard.edu).