Editors' pick: Originally published Nov. 7.

Niche.com has released its rankings of each state's top private universities in America--some with mass name recognition, but many that you never knew existed. Niche.com calculated each school's rankings carefully, with weighted factors that account for the number of awards received by faculty or local crime rates, to give two examples, which offer the reader a holistic picture of what these top schools are really like. Other important factors like "value" are represented by average net cost after financial aid, grants and scholarship. The overall score aggregates grades for things like academics, diversity, the party scene, the professoriate, safety, student life, and other sub categories. Are you a parent researching schools? Value and safety might make a huge difference for you. Are you a prospective student eager to apply? Some of the listings very usefully include a link directly to the admissions application. Are some states missing? It's because Niche.com could not collect data for Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Puerto Rico. But, there are plenty of other states (and compelling schools) on the list to check out.