You can go over $100,000 in debt for the so called "Tier 1" degree or you can graduate debt free and still have wonderful opportunities- maybe better ones than the "Tier 1" grad pending on your class ranking. The real key is to do well, whether you're at Harvard or Cooley. Don't let an arbitrary ranking control where you will spend that next 3 years of your life.
Harvard, Yale and Stanford are "so called 'Tier 1'" schools?!?! HAHA!
Not to start a 'fight,' dnw2007, but you must not have been accepted to one of those prestigious "so called 'Tier 1'" schools, otherwise you would not be combating the "arbitrary ranking" system so passionately.
I do not rely on the ranking system; I rely on the statistics, especially the ones concerning employment. Tier 1 law school graduates generally have a higher employment rate, are more likely to get an impressive judicial clerkship, and have a higher bar pass rate.
If someone was accepted to Harvard, s/he would be a complete dumbass for choosing Cooley, unless s/he had emergency family obligations (a close relative who lives with him/her is dying; NOT just spouse and kids to care for because one can move a healthy family to the Boston area) and lived within driving distance of Cooley.
Some information concerning a career after attending Thomas M. Cooley Law School:
Pass rate for first time Bar Exam takers: 63%
Students employed upon graduation: 31%
Students employed in 3 months: 88%
Average starting salary: $41,895
Here is the same information, only it is concerning a career after attending Harvard Law School:
Pass rate for first time Bar Exam takers: 95%
Students employed upon graduation: 99%
Students employed in 3 months: 98%
Granted, I wouldn't choose Harvard over any of the UC law schools, most of the other tier 1 schools, or University of Houston (because I cannot stand the cold and I hate the Red Sox), but I DEFINITELY would choose HLS over Cooley!! I don't hold anything against Cooley except the school's stats.