HOST Program Frequently Asked Questions

facebook linkfacebook linkfacebook linkfacebook link

HOST Program FAQs


Q: Who are the HOST Program volunteers?

A: All hosts are University of Illinois College of Medicine MD and Resident alumni - they have attended the University of Illinois College of Medicine for all or part of their medical education or training.

Q: Which cities are volunteers available in?

A: We have over 200 alumni volunteers across the country in various cities and states. View a full list of our HOST locations here. As we build the program, we hope to have representation in all states, but please contact us if you have any specific questions. 

Q: Will students from Chicago, Peoria, Rockford, and Urbana be matched with alumni from their respective campuses?

A: We will do our best to match students with alumni from their respective campus, however, please note that such a match may not always be available. In that case, we will match you with alumni from another campus in that area. As we continue to grow our list of volunteers we hope to have equal representation from all of our campuses as best possible.


Q: As a student, if I register for a host, what are my chances of a successful host match?

A: The decision to host a student lies with the alumnus. The Alumni Engagement Office will search for alumni in the vicinity of each request for a host. If none are found, the student will be notified. It is always a good idea for the student to book alternative lodging that could be canceled if and when a host is identified. We ask that students submit their requests at least two weeks prior to any trip in order to provide adequate time to search for a host.

Q: As a student, how do I sign up to use the HOST Program?

A: Complete the HOST Program - Student Request Form to let us know when and where you will be traveling. At least 2 (two) to 3 (three) weeks in advance is appreciated to help identify a host. 

Q: As an alumnus/a, how do I host a student in the HOST Program?

A: We simply ask the alumni hosts to provide what they are able to – from overnight accommodations in their home for students to personal connections providing invaluable professional insight on the regional medical community and the student’s prospective residency institution or program. Many hosts go above and beyond by offering transportation to and from interviews and airports, home cooked meals, guided tours of the area; however, this is not a requirement and is at the discretion of the alumni volunteer. Transportation to and from the interview city, including to and from the airport, is the responsibility of the student. If you would like to sign up for the HOST Program, please submit the Alumni Volunteer Form and someone from our office will be in contact with you.

Q: How many times can a student use the COM HOST Program?

A: We ask that you limit the number of location requests to 3 (three) so that we are able to accommodate as many students as possible. If more than three requests are listed, we cannot quarantine placement. Please consider prioritizing host locations based on your residency needs. Note: we ask that students submit their requests at least two weeks prior to any trip in order to provide adequate time to search for a host.

Q: Can I stay with an alumni host for more than one day?

A: Absolutely, but this is something that the student should discuss with his/her host upon successful match. We have had some alumni host students for a week while the student completed several interviews in the region. Other alumni have hosted students for 3 days just so the student could get a better travel rate on a Saturday stay over flight. We will work with our alumni volunteers to best suit your travel needs.

Q: Will my spouse/partner/children be allowed to stay with me?

A: While many hosts welcome significant others, this is a host specific decision. The student should contact his/her host upon a successful match to discuss this possibility of bringing along guests to stay with the host family.

Q: How far in advance should I contact my alumni host?

A: Contact your host as soon as we give you their information. If you are matched early, contact your host right away and again when it gets closer to the date of your travel. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! Once a host is identified by the Alumni Relations Office, it is the student’s responsibility to arrange visit details with the host. The only other contact the Alumni Relations Office will make with the student and host will be a post-host evaluation.

Q: What do I do if my travel or interview plans change or get cancelled?

A: Contact your host as soon as possible and let them know about the change in plans. Also, please inform the Alumni Relations Office of the change as soon as you can by calling (312) 996-6815 AND by emailing comHOST@uic.edu.

Q: Do I need to do anything after returning from using the HOST Program?

A: Yes, we ask that you send a thank you note to the alumna/us who hosted your stay. We will provide you with a post-visit check list that includes this reminder.  This appreciation is vital to ensure that the host is satisfied and wants to participate in the HOST Program in the future. It is a wonderful idea to bring a thank you gift in advance. The Office of Alumni Relations has an assortment of COM branded swag that you can take to your host as a token of appreciation. 

Q: Who do I contact if I have a question about the HOST program?

A: Please contact the COM Alumni Relations Office at (312) 996-6815 or email us at comHOST@uic.edu.

Q: Why do I need to accept a waiver agreement?

A: All student and alumni participants in the HOST Program are asked to acknowledge the waiver agreement (checking the mandatory box on the request form) as part of the University of Illinois system volunteer program requirements.