The Latin term in loco parentis has its roots in British common law. It means "in the place of a parent" with regard to obligations assumed by an organization such as a university. Of course, the university does not replace the parent; rather it tries in its own sphere to do what is best for the student, just as a good parent would.
Students who attend Brigham Young University are fortunate to find a structure of wards and stakes to help meet their spiritual and social expectations. However, they look to the colleges and departments of the university for most of their other needs.
For example, the university is responsible for setting requirements that work together to help young men and women achieve their educational goals. Though the requirements are available in the course catalogue and elsewhere for everyone to see, it is not always obvious to students how the requirements fit together so they can accomplish them efficiently. Consequently, advice from someone who knows how the pieces fit and who cares about the student can be invaluable in working through that process.
Deciding among the many degree programs available can also be challenging. To aid in this decision, a course that reviews the requirements and expected outcomes of every program is now available in the College of Life Sciences. Students who decide on a major early in their university career are generally more involved in their programs and graduate sooner.
Likewise, scholarships and other forms of support make it possible for students who might otherwise drop out, to complete their degree programs. Mentored learning experiences with faculty and internships off campus can also help financially and add new dimensions to classroom learning. In turn, as students move through their own programs, many of them help fellow students and others by tutoring, by serving in clubs or on the Student Advisory Council, or in other ways.
Finally, as students approach graduation, they sometimes need help assessing opportunities such as job or graduate and professional school options. Helping students do these and other things is the function of Life Sciences Student Services or LSSS, a new unit in the College of Life Sciences. No, the university cannot replace parents, but through entities such as LSSS it can provide much to promote students' well-being and their parents' peace of mind.