1. Yes and no - you have to fulfill all the myriad requirements for different TYPES of classes, plus your major will often dictate some of those classes for you. As an example, engineering students have their math requirements laid out for them end to end.
2. Gen ed classes are usually the largest classes on campus, but there are some smaller classes and even the larger ones are usually divided between massive lectures and smaller recitation or lab sections.
3. It depends on the credit load and specific courses. As another respondent noted, the assumption is 3-4 hours outside of class for every hour inside of class. For a 15-credit semester, that means 60-75 hours of class and study per week. In reality it varies widely by the individual - some people taking heavy loads in areas difficult for them will do little besides study, while other people taking lighter loads in relatively easy areas will have lots more free time.
4. Registration opens on different dates for different people, based on credits completed and status. Honors students and student athletes pick first, and then it goes by decreasing number of credits - as a freshman, you will pick last. http://www.registrar.psu.edu/Reg_Tim...table_Main.cfm
5. I never cared for North Halls personally - I favored the South/Central/Pollock area, in part because of its proximity to the town. Still, each to their own.
6. You can absolutely exceed the minimums in any area, but just to warn you, the good physical activity classes fill up FAST. It is rare to see non-honors non-athlete freshmen in most of the gym classes, and many people wait until thei junior or senior years just so they can get the classes of their choice.
7. There is not usually a problem with crossing colleges for minors or double majors, so long as they are not controlled. Should not be a problem for you.