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I received a verbal offer via video call with the Dean of the institution (East Coast university) They indicated they would send an email the next day.

It has been around 10 days with no email - I'm not sure, looking back if the email meant they would send an internal email e.g. to HR in order to set up an initial written offer, or if I should have expected a written initial offer immediately. I'm sure the Dean would not be sitting down to write a term sheet etc.

Is this just standard practice and I should just hold on and wait? I have been advised to possibly contact the university to ask for a soft indication of when an initial written offer might be received. For context I am not well versed with the US academic system as I am coming from a European system.

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    I would immediately follow up with the Dean to ask when the offer will be extended. There should not be a 10 day delay at this point in the academic year.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Mar 7 at 17:14
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    @JonCuster: please avoid writing answers in the comments. Short answers are allowed, and the answer box is mere inches away :-)
    – cag51
    Commented Mar 7 at 22:21
  • Aside - check your spam folder carefully first. Do that now.
    – Criggie
    Commented Mar 10 at 9:42

2 Answers 2

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I think enough time is passed, you can send a friendly email stating that you haven't received a formal offer yet and asking when you can expect it. I would have waited a day or two after the original promise.

Do some checking on your own end to be sure it hasn't gone to a spam folder or anything first.

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@BryanKrause’s answer is correct, please do not wait any longer before contacting the university.

Moreover, in the US, “verbal offer” is not a meaningful concept except when used as an informal figure of speech. In other words, until you have a written offer, you should not assume that you have an “offer”, verbal or otherwise. This makes it all the more important to communicate promptly and clearly with the university. Don’t be too polite. Don’t ask for “soft indications”. Don’t mince words or use overly tactful phrasings that leave room for ambiguity or misunderstandings. You need your offer letter, just ask in plain language when they will be sending it.

I’ve had to wait longer than expected for offer letters in my past, it’s not fun. Things turned out well in my case, I hope they will for you as well. Good luck!

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    To be clear: In the US, a legally valid contract can indeed be made verbally. Practically speaking though, in-writing is the way to go — as you indicated. Commented Mar 9 at 21:29
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    @BasilBourque maybe so, but an offer is not a contract. Unless the video conversation ended with a mutual understanding that an offer was made and OP accepted it, I very much doubt that anyone can claim this as the basis for a contract, not just practically speaking but even in a purely theoretical sense. Disclaimer: IANAL.
    – Dan Romik
    Commented Mar 10 at 5:02

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