Mississippi native Espy helps scholars attain high ACT, test scores


By Josh Troy Clarksdale Advocate

Allyson Espy comes from a family dedicated to service. Espy’s father, Chuck Espy, is the mayor of Clarksdale. Her grandfather, Henry Espy, is the former mayor of Clarksdale. Her great-uncle, Mike Espy, is a former United States Representative, former Secretary of Agriculture, and a two-time US Senate candidate.

Espy is continuing the family tradition of service by giving back to students in Clarksdale and the Mid-South. She is a tutor and academic advisor, mostly for students trying to increase ACT scores. She also prepares students for the SAT, the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, and to earn their GED.

Espy is a 2018 Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science graduate and a 2022 Mississippi State University graduate with a major in Asian studies and a minor in computer science, with her concentration being Japanese. She is currently applying to law schools, including Ole Miss, but is open to going anywhere and hopes to become an Intellectual Property lawyer.

Espy has been focusing on tutoring students for the past year and started the service during her high school years. She said the tutoring service is normal for the most part, but some things are unorthodox. “Instead of having a main strategy that I apply to every student, maybe like a cookie-cutter solution, I do more of a tailored plan for each student,” she said. “No two students are the same. I aim to make sure that each student has a unique and diversified experience; no two students are the same! I tailor strategies for each student based on their educational background, strengths, and goals.”

The tutoring sessions are either through Zoom meetings, in a cafe, the Carnegie Public Library, or wherever the student is comfortable. Espy said there is one common denominator for anyone preparing to take the ACT. “The secret to the ACT is reading quickly,” she said. “I love to tell my students, I don’t care what you read. Try to read something every day. It could be a magazine, a news article. It could even be a comic book. You should try to increase reading every day, and you will see your test scores jump from that. It’s just processing the words. Being able to do that quickly is what I’ve seen increase students’ success, no matter what the section of the ACT, math, science, English, and reading.”

Espy said she used the same techniques, and her final ACT score was in the high 30s. “In general, I see my ACT students increase their scores two to four points from their initial score after a month of tutoring,” she said. “I have also had very dramatic improvements in students taking other standardized tests. One of my students doubled their score on the ASVAB after one and a half months of tutoring.”

Espy’s tutoring goes beyond test preparation. She also tutors students in English, algebra, and geometry, along with elementary school students in spelling. “College planning is the most popular service among high school junior and senior students,” she said. “However, I also offer class schedule planning, interview preparation, and scholarship and fellowship essay revision.”

Espy plans to continue being a service to others, no matter what path her life takes. “That’s the main thing of importance to me,” she said. “I’m out here using what God’s given me to try to help my students. Even when I go into law, I still want to continue that as well. But, right now, I’m really focused on getting my students to the next level so they can succeed.”

Espy said Linda Coleman, Circuit Court Judge of Mississippi’s Eleventh Circuit Court District since 2016 and Mound Bayou native, has been a role model to her in the legal profession. Anyone who would like to be tutored may contact her at allysonespy@gmail.com.



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