A world-class faculty and "the nation's choosiest admissions office" made Harvard University the top large school in a poll, and Amherst College was selected the best small liberal arts college.

U.S. News and World Report, in its annual survey, also selected Juilliard School, Babson College and Harvey Mudd College as the best specialty schools.Selected as top regional colleges and universities in its special report on "America's Best Colleges" released in Monday's editions of the magazine were Villanova University, Wake Forest University, Illinois Wesleyan University and Trinity University.

The country's oldest institution of higher learning, Harvard was selected as the country's leading liberal arts university for the first time since the survey began in 1983, although it had ranked among the top five in the other years.

For last fall's freshman class, Harvard accepted about 18 percent of 12,843 applicants, the magazine said.

Following Harvard as top national universities were Stanford, Yale, Princeton, California Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Duke, Dartmouth College, Cornell and Columbia.