If you make them a character, I'd try filling out the sheet in front of them and explaining everything as you do, that way they don't start the first session not even knowing what saves and BAB are.
I'd also make a list of feats they would want and let them choose, that way they're not looking through the whole book at level 3 but do actually get input in making their characters. The main frustration of my first party was me spending hours trying to figure out what to take for my Sorcerer while our Ranger was annoyed about the co-GM having chosen bad lvl 1 feats. It's better to try to find a medium, because some people really need hand-holding at the start when others don't. If they have an idea of what playstyle they want to do, that's great, but make sure they know what they're picking. The Paladin should know about his Code, the Rogue should know that they need friends to flank, the Fighter should know he's there to do damage and support, not just one, and the Wizard should know how prepping spells works.