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Research is a huge part of choosing a university for me. How easy is a transition into research as a freshman? It seems like you had luck but is that common for other students interested?
Also how large is your average class size and what are your experiences with the masses in lecture halls?
Research is a huge part of the campus, and there are many options available. If you are interested in research and put in even a little effort to find something, you won't have too much trouble finding a position. As a freshman, you may have to take something like a lab assistant position where you don't do any research right away, but it's pretty typical to move up after six months (like I did) or maybe a year. There are also many internships available, even to freshmen, but I haven't looked into them too much since I got a job early on.
As far as the average class size goes, it really depends. In my experience so far, I've only really taken intro lectures, which are usually quite large (up to 300 people or so). But I'm also taking a biochemistry seminar with something like 30 people. Also, as you move on to higher level courses, the student to teacher ratio will get much lower. I haven't had any problems even in the large lectures.
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