I'm trying to wrap my head around college admissions as I start my junior year in high school. Since my primary interest is in math, I'm thinking of an applied math major (but other hard sciences and engineering are also likely possibilities). I want to do undergrad research and/or internships. Most of the schools that appeal to me are large, research-oriented universities. But I've heard some things that give me pause... My dad did his undergrad work at SUNY Stony Brook and hated it. His professors worked almost entirely with grad students and pretty much ignored the undergrads. The TAs running labs were completely apathetic toward the job and offered no instruction whatsoever. This has left him somewhat jaded toward state universities with a research focus. I'm a different person, and from what I can tell my personality is much more extroverted and willing to seek out help. But these kinds of anecdotes leave me a bit uncomfortable. I know that many of you on this board have completed undergrad degrees in math and the sciences at large research schools; what was the academic experience like? Were professors helpful during office hours? Were you able to get involved in research relatively easily, and if so was it more interesting than just labeling vials or crunching numbers?