Hey, I'm Chris, I'm currently a junior in high school.
I decided within the past year that I want to be an urban planner, and my entire family told me "Well, duh..." I've been drawing maps of made-up cities since I was three, playing Sim City since I was six, so it was a natural decision. Previously, I was interested in civil engineering because I wanted to design highways, but after taking high school physics and introductory engineering, it seems incredibly boring compared to planning. I am much more interested in geography, economics and history than physical science.
We are in the process of looking at colleges around us; I'm most interested in transportation planning and/or economic/land use planning. I'm probably more swayed toward policy than physical design. Before we look at every college offering a program around us, I have two questions.
1) Should I get an undergrad major in planning or a related field like geography or urban studies before moving to graduate school?
2) Which colleges should I be looking at? I don't think I can get in to an Ivy League or MIT or Berkeley or anything. I'm ranked ~30/600 in high school and have a 4.1 GPA. Which schools have the best programs but are still possible to get in to?
Thanks for the advice. I've been trying to do research, but I know very few teachers in my school/adults in my area that are involved in the field.