The 8th expansion to The Sims and much requested, Sims: Discover University allows your young adult and adult sims to go to college! Discover University adds a whole new town, several new careers, college student-approved clothing, and, most importantly, a full college experience. Your sims can now stress over finals, do homework for hours on end, and share a dorm with random strangers- just like college students in real life. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll be able to play some ping pong, build a robot, join a club, or do some keg stands in their free time.
The Sims has sex called “woohoo” in it. You can “woohoo” with the robots you build and with your roommates. You never see anything, only something rolling around under sheets and hearts floating around, but it’s suggestive.
The Sims calls drinks “juice,” but keg stands and a juice pong will impact a sim’s mood. So even if they don’t call it alcohol, it functions similarly.
As a college student in the middle of my last month of real-life university, I felt very seen by this expansion pack. I spent much of my time playing comparing my sim’s experience to my own experience, which tells you how realistic this pack is. Your sim can pick their university, apply for scholarships, get financial aid, email professors, and go to office hours. They can also constantly worry about missing out on something, secretly hate their roommates for never cleaning, and wonder if these four weeks (in Sims time) of university are really worth it. So, basically my existence minus the plumbob over my head.
Not only is Discover University realistic in its content, it’s also realistic in its variety. There are two universities: the old and classy University of Britechester and the new and cutting-edge Foxbury Institute. Both offer the same majors, but have distinguished degrees in either the more science-based majors or the liberal arts majors.
Students can also get full-rides or have to take out loans to pay their tuition. They can choose either to live in dorms, in university houses, at home, or off-campus. All of these offer different experiences, with majors determining your classes and future career fields, money determining how many classes you can take, and housing determining how much action you see on campus.
To illustrate all the features of Discover University, let me introduce you to the Benali family. When Discover University came out, I was beginning to run out of ideas for the second generation of the Benali family. As my sim and my sim husband’s four vampire children grew up, they would all get married, go their own ways, and repeat the cycle of life, work, procreate, learn, play, sleep, drink, repeat. But then came university!
Each of my children went on different paths through college. Zethro, the oldest, was already married with a kid when the Discover University came out. So, he took only two classes a semester while still working as a writer. Your sims can still go to work while taking classes, which adds to the scheduling fun, but also allows university to blend more naturally into the overall sim experience.
Zethro could have taken on a part-time job, which are now available to all ages, but he needed more money than that. He also could have been a freelance writer, which is also a new addition, but having him do homework around a toddler was fun enough—let alone writing books.
The second Benali child, Charlotte, failed to get into the distinguished fine arts program of her dreams. She had to go to the science school for the arts—but that’s okay. Her fine arts degree will give her a boost in creative professions, allowing her to enter at third or fourth tier instead of at the bottom. That’s the key benefit of University: it allows your sims to build skills through studying rather than doing and to go into their dream careers at a higher level.
Charlotte kept her job as a musician during college, lived in a dorm, and did full 12-credit semesters. She also was…less honest than her siblings. She cheated on homework and got away with several plagiarized term papers until finally getting caught and receiving a warning. She practically lived at the campus commons as her dorm didn’t even have a computer.
That’s my first complaint about Discover University: the lack of build mode. You can’t edit university housing. Dorms you can never touch and while you can edit university houses in manage worlds, it’s still a bummer. What kind of a dorm wouldn’t have a video game system or allow you to buy a guitar, as if students wouldn’t be bringing things to do for fun to their dorms? While you can deck out a university house, and I eventually did, this limitation makes dorm life really boring. Sure, talking to strangers is cool, but playing video games with them would be cooler.
The third Benali child, Lannie, has been hacking computers since her teens. All her nerdy skills allowed her to get into several distinguished programs. These distinguished degrees allow your sims to go into careers at an even higher level and better pay. So she went off for a computer science degree and learned robotics, a new skill that lets your sims build various kinds of robots. She ended up getting a full ride and moving into the decked-out university house with a few friends. She graduated and became an engineer, the newest career path.
Her experience was hands down the best to play as she got the best of everything: being on campus, full ride, good grades, learning new skills, and having fun with her roommates. I filled the backyard with everything Discover University has to offer: games, sports equipment, kegs, and a ping pong table. And it was awesome. Lannie could work on her personal laptop—a new item—play juice pong with her new roommates, and build the robot of her dreams, all in one backyard.
Roommates are a new addition to sims life that isn’t limited to just students. You can ask anyone to be your roommate and advertise for roommates. They are strangers or friends who are outside of your family but within your house. They behave in a lot of different ways and you have special interactions to thank them for cleaning, tell them to stop something annoying, or tag along when they do something fun.
Roommates can also have friends over, throw parties, and pay rent, all of which are outside your control. It’s a fun way to have humans around all the time without having to control their every move and compliments the University experience well.
Another note is that campus life is existent but fairly quiet, with soccer games, guest lectures, skill classes, and students roaming around- but often my sims were too busy doing homework or rushing between classes to attend. So, having all of the goods of University in a house on campus was perfect. But the relative dead-ness of campus when there isn’t an event going on is definitely disappointing.
This was especially noticeable when I played the final Benali kid, Marley. She was an athlete who figured she should do something useful, so she went into physics. Even though she lived at home, she joined the e-sport team, the soccer team, and the spirit squad. All this time in the sun made one thing very hard: being a vampire. All of my kids almost died by sun at some point, but university discriminates against vampires with all their open air activities—you’ve been warned now.
This was especially noticeable when I played the final kid, Marley. She was an athlete who figured she should do something useful, so she went into physics. Even though she lived at home, she joined the e-sport team, the soccer team, and the spirit squad. All this time in the sun made one thing very hard: being a vampire. All of my kids almost died by sun at some point, but university discriminates against vampires with all their open air activities- you’ve been warned now.
All her activities kept her active and it was fun to have a club thing once or twice a week and get into all the festivities on campus. While there wasn’t much to do between classes, as your classes are scheduled like real college classes are scheduled, Marley was always busy in the evening. Translation: she hardly ever did her homework. But somehow, she managed to prove D’s get degrees and went into a physics career with her credentials.
Even with these four different experiences, I still haven’t explored all that Discover University has to offer. There are secret societies, sprites, bribes, robots, skills, and experiences I haven’t even seen yet and that’s with 40+ hours sunk into this expansion. So, I’m not close to complaining about my bang-for-buck.
My final thoughts on Sims 4: Discover University expansion pack is that it seamlessly feeds into the rest of the game and even enhances it. University makes childhood and teenhood more meaningful as you try to get into your dream program, it adds new careers, it allows for more living and hobby options, and it breathes new life into young adulthood. It does what an expansion pack is supposed to do: expand the world of the Sims. It’s fun, realistic, and engaging, and if all your sim does his or her homework—know that you’re missing out on all this pack has to offer.
The Bottom Line
The Sims 4: Discover University makes young adulthood, school, and career much more full and meaningful. Full of content, both on and off campus, this expansion pack will add to anyone's Sims 4 experience, even if the homework is a little dull.