I belong to the Southern-Breeze region of Society of Children's book Writers and Illustrators and once in a while someone will ask about the Institute of Children's Literature correspondence course, so I thought I would blog about my experience.
First of all I was a skeptic, I saw these ads all the time and just thought it was a hoax. Then I talked to other writers who took the course and actually sold some of their stories they did as assignments.
Being my impulsive self, I sent off for the test for both the Long Writers course (writing for adults) and the ICL course. I got accepted by Long Ridge first and learned a lot, but so far nothing published. My friend Pat had already done the ICL course and learned a lot of things that were not covered under the Long Ridge and since writing for children is what I really wanted to do, I took the ICL course as soon as I finished the Long Ridge course.
I would recommend either course.
For the first assignment I was given three pictures to choose from and to write a story using the pictures as a jump start to a story idea.
I learned to have more than just an idea, to have a beginning, middle and end. I learned to use dialogue to give information, describe a setting and to stay with in a specified word count- something magazines will want me to do if they are going to publish my story.
One thing I learned during the Long Ridge course was that you can do this course entirely on line. I had started with mailing my assignments in and then learned that I could e-mail them. The turn around time is much faster too.
ICL and Long Ridge both will not just take your money and forget about you. If you do not turn your assignment in on time they will check up on you, offer encouragement and other aids.
If you need more time for an assignment you can go to the Student Center and request more time. So even if you are working, you can go at your own pace.
They also offer different ways to pay and offers that include discounts.
The feedback is phenomenal too. Specific to my writing ability and offers other helps called "Talk Abouts" to work on certain problems I am having.
If you are reading this and have taken the course please respond by telling me what worked for you and what didn't.
If you are considering taking the ICL course and have questions, please feel free to ask, if I can't answer I'm sure others will be able to.
Good luck on your writing venture.