I'm curious to know what 3D programs I should be able to use professionally before graduation. A lot of firms use SketchUp and different plug-ins for that... But what plug-ins and what other programs would those in the LA world suggest? SketchUp, 3D Max, Maya, Rhino? Which one is best??
It might help if I say that I'm interested in urban design - not so much residential design.
For instance, what programs are used with this?
When I was in college I didn't even know Rhino, or Maya existed. Hand graphics were encouraged and many of my colleagues and professors seemed a bit anti-technology. When I graduated a lot of firms I interviewed for asked if I knew any of the programs you mentioned...
My advice. learn and master all of them. After a few months with all the programs, you'll know what program JCFO used.
Depends on the scale and caliber of work:
Rhino (VRay,Maxwell,Grasshopper), AutoCAD, Revit, Microstation.
I'd assume FO uses a fair amount of Rhino - look at Penn student work; or better yet their job postings in the past.