Sept. 12 (UPI) -- An annual survey of colleges, released Tuesday, lists Princeton University as the best national university for the seventh consecutive year.
The U.S. News and World Report's 2018 Best Colleges Rankings called Princeton the best U.S. university, followed by Harvard University, Yale University and the University of Chicago in a tie for third place, and Columbia University, MIT and Stanford University in a tie for fifth place.
In the category of best national liberal arts colleges, Williams College placed first for the 15th consecutive year, followed by Amherst College, Bowdoin College, Swarthmore College and Wellesley College.
In the category of best public schools, the University of California at Berkeley has been the top school for the past 20 years but this year shares the honor with UCLA. They are followed by the University of Virginia, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The top national liberal arts colleges were the U.S. Military Academy, followed by the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Air Force Academy, the Virginia Military Institute and St. Mary's College of Maryland.
Factors for the rankings include graduation and retention rates, surveys of college officials and high school counselors, faculty funding, and selectivity in admissions. Some critics of the rankings say the U.S. News & World Report formula favors the wealthiest and most exclusive schools, and do not adequately reflect the diversity of students served or the quality of teaching, The Washington Post reported.