U.S. News & World Report released its 2018 Best College rankings Tuesday, placing Princeton, Harvard, University of Chicago and Yale in the top national spots.

Long Island’s public and private colleges are among the thousands in the nation judged using a formula that includes student retention and graduation rates, faculty resources, financial resources, student test scores and alumni giving.

The U.S. News rankings first hit newsstands in 1983 and through the years have received mixed reviews from college and university administrators.

Critics warn the lists create competition on an unlevel playing field, often tipped toward wealthier institutions. A Sunday article in Politico suggested the “elite” college system favors students from higher-income families and that advanced education in America no longer is a ladder of social mobility.

Many publications followed with varying systems to compare postsecondary institutions, some rewarding schools for their efforts in admitting economically disadvantaged students. Meanwhile, experts caution on relying too much on any guide or list when choosing a college.

Long Island high school seniors — many of whom currently are engaged in what can be an exhaustive application process — say they are looking for a college that is a “good fit.”

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The highest-ranked Long Island institution on the national list is Stony Brook University, in a six-way tie at No. 97 with Rochester Institute of Technology, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, University at Buffalo, University of Oklahoma and University of Vermont.

“Stony Brook has become a world-class institution not by managing toward rankings but rather by managing toward mission — exemplary academics, cutting-edge research, state-of-the-art health care, economic vibrancy, and celebrating diversity,” university President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. said in a statement. “Where rankings align with the mission to achieve outcomes, they can be a valuable tool.”

Across the country, there are about 3,000 postsecondary institutions. U.S. News does not rank all of them.

Hofstra University is at No. 132 on the national list, up from No. 133 last year and just above The New School and Rutgers University.

“We continue to be proud of our strong performance as a national university in the 2018 U.S. News & World Report rankings, and in particular the growing recognition of our engineering programs, which focus on real-world experience and are ranked 38th in the nation this year for schools without a doctoral engineering program,” a spokeswoman for Hofstra said in a statement.

The Hempstead school ranks No. 38 on a list of the best engineering programs where the highest degree is a bachelor’s. The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, a federal service academy in Kings Point, ranks No. 19 and New York Institute of Technology is No. 57 on that same engineering list.

Adelphi University, also on the national list, comes in at No. 151, a five-way tie with Florida Institute of Technology, Ohio University, Seattle Pacific University and University at Albany. In 2017, Adelphi was ranked No. 146.

At No. 41, Molloy College is the highest-ranked Long Island school in a category for regional universities in the North. The 5,000-student Catholic college landed in a six-way tie with Queens College, Misericordia College in Pennsylvania, Sacred Heart University in Connecticut, Stockton University in New Jersey and Towson University in Maryland.

“While we are regularly included in the U.S. News rankings, more of our students [and their parents] are relying on rankings from publications like Money and The Wall Street Journal,” Molloy President Drew Bogner said. “These newer rankings focus on graduation rates, job placements and salaries for recent graduates, which can help students determine if they are getting a good return on the investment.”

New York Institute of Technology is alone at No. 47 in the regional universities in the North category, just above Alfred University and three SUNY schools — Cortlandt, Oneonta and Oswego.

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NYIT, which has main campuses in Old Westbury and Manhattan, tops a separate listing of regional universities in the North with a large proportion of international students. Stony Brook is noted for its international population as well, but on the national university list.

St. Joseph’s College is at No. 71, a four-way tie with Keane State College in New Hampshire, SUNY Plattsburgh and Wentworth Institute of Technology in Massachusetts.

LIU Post is in a nine-way tie for No. 102 with similar schools, including Manhattanville College in the Bronx, Caldwell University in New Jersey and Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts.

As for regional colleges in the North, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy is at No. 3, just under top-ranked Cooper Union and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

Farmingdale State College is at No. 15, after SUNY College of Technology-Alfred. The school also is noted for having good ethnic diversity — the campus’ Latino population is 19 percent — and serving military veterans well.

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SUNY Old Westbury is unranked and is listed in alphabetical order on a list of schools in the regional colleges in the North category.