Getting a degree without eating Ramen.
University Life is a college-themed expansion pack to the Sims 3. It was released in March 2013, making it the ninth expansion to the game. It adds a sub-neighborhood centered around Sims University. The neighborhood functions much like those added by World Adventures, which can be visited, but not lived in permanently.
The expansion added three new skills:
- Science: the skill mostly seems to mostly revolve around collecting things and cloning things. The skill does involve a new life state: the Plant Sim
- Social Networking: the skill involves the things that you normally think of as Social Networking: blogging, texting, etc.
- Street Art: similar to the painting skill, but on walls and the ground. Although it might seem like vandalism, your Sim can get commissions from City Hall and opportunities to do Street Art for hire.
Additionally, the Photography skill, which was introduced in World Adventures, got carried forward and expanded by University Life.
University Life adds three social groups. The groups seem to operate somewhat like the Celebrity system, but with more actions to help you climb the ranks. Each group has unique unlockable actions and a career path that opens once you reach Level 10 in the appropriate group. The career offer will pop up when you return to your home neighborhood after reaching Level 10.
- Jocks: the party animals of the campus. You increase your reputation with the Jocks by exhibiting school spirit, throwing parties, and participating in collegiate sports. Jocks unlock the “Tell Friend How Cool I Am” interaction at Level 1, the ability to do the school cheer at Level 2, the ability to take selfies with their smartphones at Level 4, and the ability to Rent a Party for Charity at Level 6. They can host Juice Kegger parties and Bonfire parties at Levels 2 and 4, respectively. Their unique career is Sports Agent.
- Nerds: you increase your standing with the Nerds by doing, well, nerdy things. Nerds are into video games, comic books, and displays of knowledge and that sort of thing. Nerds gain the “Boast about Gamer Skillz”, “Enthuse about Comic Books”, and “Berate Ignorance” interactions at Level 1, the ability to play online video games at Level 2 (your Sim also gets a game console), issue trivia challenges at Level 4, and the “Mind Meld” interaction at Level 6 (lets you learn traits of other Sims). Their unique career is Video Game Developer.
- Rebels: the disaffected, malcontents, and general nonconformists. Rebels are into staging protests, committing vandalism (it’s Street Art, not vandalism), being social gadflies, and that sort of thing. Rebels gain a Street Art bag and a “Me, Too!” megaphone at Level 2, the ability to use podiums to make speeches and stage hunger strikes at Level 4, the “Show off New Gizmo” interaction and the ability to hold Rowdy protests at Level 6. They also find it somewhat easier to cheat on exams at Level 4. Their unique career is Art Appraiser.
University Life adds three new traits to the mix:
- Avant Garde: Avant Garde Sims know what’s art and what’s not, and don’t mind letting others know. It’s tough to please an Avant Garde type!
- Irresistible: Irresistible Sims are quite charming, although often times they might get more than they asked for! Dates will be easy to find and others will flock to socialize with them, because they’re just so irresistible!
- Socially Awkward: Socially Awkward Sims try to fit in, but sometimes say the wrong thing at the wrong time. It’s not easy being Socially Awkward, but it sure is awkward!
Also, your Sim now gains one additional trait upon graduation (you can change this trait by completing another degree, Honorary or real) and can gain another trait by reaching Level 8 influence with any of the social groups (this trait can be changed by gaining Level 8 influence with another group) for a total of seven traits.
Since your highest level of influence counts as your social group, hitting Level 8 with one group gains you an additional trait. If you then let your influence with that group slide below Level 8 and gain Level 8 influence with another group, you can change the trait. If you let that one slide below 8 and raise the original to Level 8 again, you can change it again. This can be repeated for as long as you have the patience to keep working at it.
Note that most NPCs do not gain these additional traits, so if you’re trying to learn them, you’ll only have to discover the basic five, but there will be a few NPCs that have more.
For those who would rather not mess with all of that gaining and maintaining influence, there are three new Lifetime Rewards, which basically grant you influence with any group at a cost of 2,000 points and which can be taken multiple times. So for about 8,000 or 10,000 Lifetime Reward points, you can reach the top level and open the unique career of your chosen group or for 25,000 to 35,000 points, you can unlock all three at once. Don’t know why you’d want to do that, since you’ll only gain one trait out of the deal, but you could if you wanted to.
In addition to the group influence rewards, the expansion adds an Honorary Degree as a Lifetime Reward (50,000 points), with its accompanying extra trait, and six new academically themed Lifetime Wishes:
- Blog Artist: Reach Level 10 in Social Networking and create a 5-star blog
- Major Master: earn three degrees
- Perfect Student: earn a University Degree with a perfect GPA
- Reach Max Influence with all Social Groups: reach rank 10 in all three groups
- Scientific Specialist: reach Level 10 in Science and Level 10 in any Scientific, Medical or Business career
- Street Credible: reach Level 10 in Street Art and create 7 Masterpiece murals
Enrolling in Sims University
As soon as you start a new game, a University Mascot will come to your house and drop off a Welcome Kit. This kit includes some freebies, like a T-shirt, and the very helpful aptitude test. If the Mascot fails to show, the Welcome Kit can be found in Buy mode for about 20 Simoleons. Just set the filter for University Life and you’ll find it pretty quickly. It should be noted that this Mascot is not the same person as the Mascot you’ll find at the University. Just sayin’.
Any Sim who wants to go to University should complete the aptitude test before enrolling as you can earn credits toward a degree (depends on your skill levels and traits) and financial aid. You start with 100 points and can earn up to 400 points in each of the six degree plans according to the following formula (liberally lifted from Car’s Sims 3 site):
- Skill Levels x 27 (each degree plan favors certain skills)
- Career Level x 34 (each degree plan favors certain career paths)
- Traits x 83 (each degree plan favors certain traits)
If the sum of those three is greater than or equal to 250 points, your Sim will get 6 credits toward a degree. If the sum is greater than or equal to 350 points, your Sim will get 18 credits toward a degree.
Each degree plan favors certain Traits and Skills:
- Careers: Business (duh!), Criminal
- Skills: Charisma, Mixology (requires Late Night), Social Networking
- Traits: Ambitious, Born Salesman, Evil, Frugal, Genius, Workaholic
- Careers: Writing, Photography
- Skills: Fortune Teller (requires Supernatural), Journalism, Politics
- Traits: Charismatic, Flirty, Genius, Irresistible, Schmoozer, Social Butterfly
- Fine Arts
- Careers: Culinary, Film (requires Late Night), Music
- Skills: Cooking, Guitar, Nectar Making (requires World Adventures), Painting, Piano/Drums/Bass Guitar (requires Late Night), Sculpting, Street Art
- Traits: Artistic, Avant Garde, Genius, Natural Cook, Rebellious, Virtuoso
- Physical Education
- Careers: Professional Sports
- Skills: Athletic, Martial Arts (requires World Adventures), Riding (requires Pets)
- Traits: Athletic, Genius, Loves the Outdoors
- Science and Medicine
- Careers: Medical, Science
- Skills: Alchemy (requires Supernatural), Fishing, Gardening, Science
- Traits: Bookworm, Genius, Green Thumb, Perceptive, Perfectionist, Socially Awkward
- Careers: Law Enforcement, Military
- Skills: Handiness, Inventing (requires Ambitions), Logic
- Traits: Computer Whiz, Eccentric (requires Ambitions), Genius, Good, Handy, No Sense of Humor
Financial aid for the term takes the sum of all six scores. 1200 points nets you a bit more than 1000 Simoleons for a Partial Scholarship, 1800 points nets you about a 2500 Simoleon scholarship and a +20 moodlet (“Nailed it!”), and hitting the full 2400 points nets you a 5000 Simoleon scholarship and a +20 moodlet for 12 hours. You can retake the test as often as you wish before enrolling. Once enrolled, tuition is deducted from the scholarship and any excess is added to household funds for use while at the University. If you drop out of University before completing the term, you do not get to keep the excess.
Since it takes 48 credits to complete a degree, multiple terms will likely be necessary. This is especially true if you do not take the aptitude test. With the aptitude test and the 18-credits bonus, it is possible to complete a degree in one term, but you must take 36 credits over a two week term to do it. Taking that many credits is extremely challenging (more on class loads and schedules in another section), especially if you are shooting for a final grade of A, but it can be done.
Once everything is to your liking, fire up a computer or use your shiny new smartphone (also a University Life addition) and select “Enroll in University”. Choose the Sim or Sims attending (you can send more than one at a time), the moving van will show up and you’re off to get edjimicated.
Arriving at Sims University
At arrival, your Hunger, Bladder, Hygeine, and Energy bars will be full (or pretty darned close), but your Social and Fun bars will only be at 50%. Like moving into a neighborhood, the first decision is where you will live.
You have three choices:
- Dormitory: freebies. All three dormitories are co-ed. You’ll need to grab a bed (set ownership) and set the lock on the room’s door quickly. Otherwise you’ll probably be playing musical beds for a while. You’ll also have to deal with roommates and lots of stuff breaking, but it can be a hoot. The major advantage is that you’re on campus, so don’t have far to travel.
- A couple of players suggested dropping Bonehilda (requires Supernatural) into the dorm and summoning her right off as she will cook, clean and repair, pretty much constantly. Another observed that if Seasons is installed, she will spend a lot of time raking leaves and shoveling snow, so weigh it accordingly (I do not have Seasons, so cannot comment). Bonehilda can cause problems for Sims with the Coward, Neurotic or Supernatural Skeptic traits, though, and at this point you don’t know who else is living in the dorm with you.
- Fraternity (male Sims) or Sorority (female Sims): also freebies. Not quite as much of a hassle in the roommates department, but lots of parties and lots of dares, so don’t be expecting to get a full night’s sleep while you’re there. Another slight disadvantage is distance from campus. The Sorority house and Frat house are the farthest from everything else. It’s nothing major, but should be taken into consideration.
- Houses: not freebies; cost depends on lot size and furnishings.
- There are two one-bedroom, one-bath houses and at least one of them will always be available for rent. They work fine for solo Sims or couples/duos with different class schedules. If they can’t sleep in the same bed, you can bring in twin beds, but it will be very cramped.
- There are a couple of two-bedroom, two-bath houses which works well for either singles or couples. One (the one nearest the center of the map) has very good kitchen equipment, but the bathrooms leave a bit to be desired and it’s a bit spare in the entertainment department. It does have a washer/dryer, though, for the +15 Fresh Clothes moodlet. The other (the one in the northwest corner of the map) is a bit more generous in the entertainment department, but kind of “meh!” in the quality of everything else. It, too, has a washer and dryer. Neither house has laundry hampers, though, so you’ll either need to add them ($40 each) or spend some extra time picking up dirty clothes off of the floor.
- There is a three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath house which lends itself to artsy folks due to some extras in the studio upstairs. It’s nothing to go out of your way for because you can purchase the same stuff on any lot for about 300 Simoleons.
- There is a four-bedroom house, which is pretty low on bedroom space and has fairly low-quality equipment. Two of the bedrooms have been repurposed. Its biggest draw is probably the ability to acquire roommates who will more than compensate for the higher rent and the better stuff you’ll likely need to buy. Caution on the basement bedroom – there is a routing issue such that roommates will not use the bed, even if its ownership is assigned to them, unless you move it (swap it into the pool table room, for example).
- There are several empty lots for those who want to go minimalist or just start from scratch. You should get at least one, but it’s possible to get four or five and only one house.
- Other houses that I haven’t seen may present themselves, but there are usually four to choose from.
Once rented, you are free to modify and build like you would for any home lot. Existing furnishings can be sold and new furnishings brought in. It will affect rent in subsequent terms and does add to load times when transitioning to the Sims University neighborhood.
Bedrooms that you don’t need can work to your financial advantage by allowing roommates, who will pay to stay and can be kicked out when they get too annoying. Just go to Roommate Services on your smartphone to turn it on (or off), but be sure to set your bed ownership first (you’re the landlord, so you should get first pick, right?).
Furnishings in most houses are nothing to brag about (I am thinking specifically of the Sweet Find Stuffed Chair by The Dumpster Out Back Designs) and stuff will probably break a couple or three times per term, even if you’re living by yourself. Except for the one bedroom just across the street from the campus, houses are also somewhat far from campus, but closer than the Frat/Sorority. It’s nothing unmanageable.
I couldn’t get all of the town into one screenshot, so two dorms are not showing. They’re at opposite sides of the campus below the one showing. The Frat house is not showing as available because my Sim is female. The four-bedroom is covered by the bubble above the control panel. One two-bedroom is at the intersection west of the cluster of three lots and the second is at the next intersection west of that.
Once you have chosen your living arrangements, you’re free to explore, socialize, and whatnot (sort of).
Starting the Week – Sunday
There is a Meet and Greet at the Student Union building that begins at noon on your first day. You’ll have the opportunity to meet some new Sims, chat with your professor (recommended for those who prefer to use social skills to boost their grades), play some games, snag some freebies and generally get acclimated. If you don’t take the opportunity to socialize, you’ll be missing out on a lot of party invitations.
Definitely grab a disc and a kicky bag from the freebies table. Both generate Fun. The Flying Disc requires a partner to play and builds Jock influence. The Kicky Bag can be played solo or with a partner and generates Rebel influence. Both help with the Athletic skill. If you can get there quickly enough (it tends to get snagged by other Sims), there is a Soccer ball on the ground in front of the Student Union building. It works like a Kicky Bag (solo or partner, same animations), but builds Jock influence. Free sodas and candy bars are also available, but the candy bar will likely give you a nauseous moodlet for a couple of hours, followed by an offering at the altar of Ralph.
Unlike the rest of the buildings on campus, the Student Union is not a rabbit hole and there is a lot of stuff to interact with. There are foosball tables, ping-pong tables, a pool table, arcade games, vending machines (running a chance of “Death by Blunt Force Trauma” if you try to get stuff freebies – they got my Sim once), computers, whiteboards and a guitar and art easel that appear during the Meet and Greet only. You’ll be here in the lecture hall on Tuesdays.
Your inventory has a few new things, too. First, you’ll find a striking, but nonfunctional backpack. It can be turned on and off in your radial menu, so you can either be seen running around with or without it. Second, you’ll get a textbook of some sort, which you can use this to study. Be careful, though, because Neat Sims like to shove it into a bookcase somewhere in order to unclutter their inventory. If they do, it will reduce your Study options.
Third, a gizmo of some kind, which is linked to your degree:
- Business: Workforce Warrior Business Planner. Work on and present business plans.
- Communications: Frequency Fun Mobile Radio Station. Conduct interviews, do news broadcasts and advertisements. Advertisements, done well, generate Simoleons.
- Fine Arts: Sketchbook. Practice sketching (improves your Painting skills and Street Art if you have at least one level of it). You can sell your sketches when you’re done to unclutter your inventory and earn a few Simoleona and it never runs out of paper.
- Physical Education: “Them Bones” Anatomy Skeleton. Allows you to “Bone up on Anatomy” (*groan*) and “Test Skeletal Structure”. For laughs, you can make the skeleton rip off its leg and chew on it.
- Science and Medicine: my Sim received no gizmo, but the ZRX-9000 Science Research Stations at the Student Union Building increase the Science skill.
- Technology: Cerebralizing Brain Enhancing Machine. You use it to study the brain.
Although you can play with these at any time, doing so before your classes start on Monday won’t net you any benefit, except for sketching (develops Painting and you can sell the sketches for a couple of Simoleons) and doing advertisements, which can also generate a few Simoleons.
Once the Meet and Greet is done, you’re free to explore the rest of the town. University LIfe includes several new venues and they’re right across the street from the campus, so are easy to get to. They are not 24-hour operations, though. When closing time rolls around, you’ll stop whatever activity you’re doing and leave the building.
- Roasted Toasted Beans Coffee Shop: buy beverages and snacks, study, flirt with the Barista, or just hang out. There are a couple of panels set up on the back and side of the building for those who want to get started tagging early (it’s Street Art, not vandalism), but be careful that you don’t get busted. The coffee shop is open from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m.
- The Grotto: hangout for Rebels. Pool tables, video games, an easel, and more pre-marked walls for your spray-painting pleasure. There is a garden of sorts behind the building if you’re looking for free fruits, veggies, and herbs. The Grotto is open from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m.
- B’s Bowlarama: hangout for Jocks. You can bowl, play video games, hang out or whatever. Bowling is scored over ten frames and costs nothing. There is also a small (6 or 8 plants) garden on top of the building. B’s is open from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m.
- Keith’s Komics: hangout for Nerds. Computers (which you can also use to study), video arcade games, comic book sales. Keith’s is open from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m.
The town also has some of the usual assortment of rabbit-hole venues: a diner, movie theater, supermarket, and bookstore. The university’s stadium has two: the Annex and the Stadium. You can play collegiate sports at the Stadium (each sport burns a couple of hours, significantly lowers your Energy bar and nets you brownie points with the Jocks), but it otherwise functions like any other stadium. The Annex is a rabbit hole for Physical Education majors. Most of the other buildings on campus will allow you to take skill courses.
Once you’ve seen what there is to see and done what there is to do, get ready. Classes start on Monday.
Classes (It’s Why You Came, Right?)
Regardless of your major, your schedule is going to follow the same routine for the term. Course names are cute, but functionally meaningless.
- Monday, Wednesday and Friday: you will disappear into a rabbit hole building from 8 to 10, 12 to 2 and/or 4 to 6. The schedule is randomly determined at the start of the term, unless you’re taking 18 hours (one-week term) or 36 hours (two-week term), where you’ll be in all three. Friday is an Exam, but functions like a regular class except for the possibility of gaining a moodlet for your exam performance at the end of the class period. Because schedules are individually determined, two Sims on the same degree plan will not necessarily get the same schedules.
- Tuesday: one 2-hour session in the Lecture Hall at the Student Union building, regardless of the number of hours taken. The session time is randomly determined at the start of the term, but is also 8-10, 12-2 or 4-6.
- Thursday: activity class in one of the non-rabbit-hole buildings or at an outside location. You’ll be using your major’s gizmo and will pretty much be unable to control your Sim except for ditching. Its time, too, is randomly picked at the start of the term, but will usually match Tuesday’s time.
- Saturday and Sunday: your time to do pretty much whatever you want.
90 minutes before the scheduled class or activity, your Sim will stop whatever they are doing and run to class. No matter where you are or what your default mode of transportation is (foot, bicycle, hoverboard, etc.), your Sim will stop using that and begin running to class. There are a few exceptions to this. If you are Jogging or Tagging, you will complete those activities before going to class. There are likely a couple of others that I have not stumbled across yet, but for the most part, the opening of the 90-minute window effectively cancels whatever activities you are doing.
Keep in mind that your Academic Performance meter kicks in as soon as you enter class, so being nearby means the potential for 3.5 hours worth of performance points rather than just the 2 hours for the regular class time. Also, everyone else in the class is going to cluster up around the door (which only allows one Sim at a time to enter), so “the earlier the better” is probably a good motto to live by.
It is possible to ditch class by simply canceling the “Attend Class” activity. Once or twice will be forgiven, but your academic performance will continue to drop while you are not in class. Three times ditching and you’ll be in trouble.
While you are doing scheduled activities, your Bladder meter will lock (no asking to go to the bathroom) until the activity finishes. The same is true of Hunger, Hygiene, and Energy. The upshot of this is that if your Sim is on the borderline of acquiring a negative moodlet when the 90-minute window opens, you’re pretty much stuck with it until the class finishes.
While doing classes and activities, your Fun meter will begin dropping at an accelerated rate, so one of the best protections against getting a “Stressed” moodlet is hitting class with a few hours remaining of the “Having a Blast” moodlet. At Normal effort, full-load schedules will almost always produce a “Stressed” moodlet after the third class on Monday/Wednesday/Friday, and “Work Hard” will usually produce one during the second class. Once the stress meter is full, your effort will automatically drop to whatever level will not add to it.
On your Academic tab (where your Career tab would normally be) is a meter showing your academic standing. The meter starts at about 40% or 45% full and does not appear until the 90-minute window opens for your first class on Monday. This is why playing with your gizmo or studying your textbook as soon as you get them won’t get you much benefit – there is no meter to raise. The higher the meter, the better your academic performance. The meter fills when you do academic things and drops when you don’t.
Filling the meter 97% or more will net you the “Dean’s List” (+20) moodlet. This is fairly easy to do if you are only taking one class, but can be quite the challenge if you are taking two or three classes for reasons I’ll get to in a minute. Keeping your mood high will raise the performance meter a bit faster than if you don’t (this works for just about any skill; the better your mood, the faster it develops).
If you need extra money during the term, you can apply at the Administration Building once every 24 hours. The higher your performance meter, the more money you get, up to a maximum of 5000 Simoleons if your meter is full. Best guess is that the formula is something like ((% full / 2) * 100) because having the “Dean’s List” moodlet active gets you between 4850 and 5000 Simoleons. Once you have applied for extra funds, you must wait 24 hours to do it again, but note that it is 24 hours from the last time you RECEIVED funds not 24 hours from the last time you APPLIED for it.
A bit of clarification on the 24-hour wait might help. Let’s suppose that you asked for extra funds at precisely noon on Monday. It takes about an hour to go through that process, so you actually received your extra funds at about 1:00. You cannot ask for more funds again until about 1:00 on Tuesday. Tack on the hour processing before you receive them and you cannot ask again until about 2:00 on Wednesday, and so forth. The 24-hour wait is actually about a 25-hour wait.
For a two-week term, if you have the “Dean’s List” moodlet at the end of your last class on the first Friday, you keep the moodlet until Monday because your academic performance meter turns off and cannot drop if it’s not showing. I have run into a glitch where one Sim had their meter continue dropping over the weekend, so they ended Friday with a full meter, but started Monday with significantly less than half full. But it has not happened to any others and I’m not sure what caused it.
Not counting completed extra credit opportunities, if you have the “Dean’s List” moodlet when you exit class on the last Friday of the term, you’re pretty much guaranteed an A on your report card when all is said and done.
Things that will increase your academic performance:
- Attending rabbit-hole classes: “Work Hard” or “Normal Effort” will fill the meter faster, while “Take it Easy” will fill it slower. Socializing or Texting Friends will slow the meter dropping, but will give you slight boost to your Charisma skill, and you can always Sleep Through Class (maybe learn by osmosis?). It will drop at its normal rate if you don’t attend at all. You can also suck up to the professor. This will get you some social points and give you a better chance at begging for a good grade at the end of the term.
- Participating in lecture sessions: “Take Notes” and “Ask a Question” will produce the most benefit, “Sleep through Lecture” will not.
- Playing with your gizmo: when you are not in class, you can play with your major’s gizmo to your heart’s content. Almost any interaction with it will increase your academic performance meter.
- Studying: you can study (hard, normal or lightly) from your textbook. You may also select “Study” from your smartphone or any computer, but will not have the focus options. You can also form study groups of up to four Sims (very much like “Do Homework With…” in Elementary or High School). You can also select “Make a cheat sheet” from your textbook and hope that you don’t get caught (high Rebel influence reduces the chances of being caught).
- Extra Credit opportunities: although they don’t add much to the performance meter, they can provide that extra kick at the end of the term for your final grade. Just treat them like any other opportunity, but be sure to complete them by Friday.
Unsurprisingly, developing skills related to your degree plan raises your academic performance. Taking classes in those skills will give you a very slight one-time boost in academic performance, but activities that increase those skills raise the meter the whole time you’re doing them. So, using easels to increase your Painting skill or playing a Guitar to increase your Guitar skill will help a lot towards your Fine Arts degree, or conducting ink blot tests and analyzing samples will help toward a Science and Medicine degree.
That Blasted Meter
These numbers are just best guesses, but should give you a good idea of the basics. The meter graphs the percentage of points earned out of the maximum needed. Anything over the maximum is wasted time and effort because it’s just dropped. I do know that you need the meter 97% full for Dean’s List.
The performance meter decays at some rate. I don’t know what it is, but I’m going to use one point per hour as the base rate. This doubles for two classes and triples for three, so you’ll lose 3 points per hour when you’re not doing academic stuff on a full load, and you can double it again for a two-week term.
If you are taking one course over one week, we’ll suppose your maximum is 100 points by the end of class on Friday. If you are taking one course over two weeks, your maximum is 200 points. Two courses over two weeks would be 400 points. And so forth. It’s pretty linear.
So if you are in class and putting in minimal effort, you gain 2 points per hour; normal effort gets you 4 points per hour; and working hard gets you 6 points per hour. Sleeping, texting, socializing and whatnot keep the meter steady.
In short, on a one class two week schedule, having your meter full by the time Tuesday’s lecture is over should be no problem and no stress. One class period (Work Hard), one Study session (Study Hard), one related-skill activity for a couple of hours, and one Lecture without falling asleep and you should have the Dean’s List moodlet, possibly even have a full meter.
But on a two-class, two-week schedule, it will likely be Monday the following week before it’s full and you’ll probably accrue a couple of Stressed moodlets along the way. Stretch it out and add more stress for three classes.
The Lecture and Class Activity are the problem. While you can gain points in multiple classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, you can only gain one class worth of points on Tuesday and Thursday, so you have to make up those other class periods with other activities. Basically, you need to find time to work in two extra study sessions per week for two classes and four extra study sessions for three classes to make up the difference. This is where extra credit becomes helpful, as does related skill development.
Rabbit Hole Classes
When you enter a rabbit-hole class (Monday, Wednesday and Friday), you can choose how much effort you put into the class. This works much like attending classes in Elementary and High School. The more effort you put in, the faster your performance meter will fill. “Work Hard” will likely lead to a Stressed moodlet if you are taking more than one class. Neurotic Sims have a slight advantage here since they can Freak Out and prevent stress for a while.
Lectures are a pain. Even if you want to do well, your Sim will likely stop doing whatever you told them to do and go to sleep. The workaround that I found is to queue up several positive actions. If the queue runs out, your Sim will likely doze off, and will sometimes doze off even on a full queue. Any unused actions will be automatically cancelled when the lecture period is over.
You’ll spend a couple of hours repeatedly playing with your gizmo every Thursday. There isn’t much to do except to sit back and watch the magic happen for a couple of Sim hours, although you can always stop and go do something else if you want.
End of Term and Graduation
You’ll finish your final exams at the end of your last class on the last Friday of the term, but you won’t get your report card until later, typically about 8 a.m. on Saturday. Whether graduating or not, you’ll head back home on Saturday night.
If it’s your last term (degree time), you’ll run to the Stadium for commencement on Saturday at about 1 p.m., change into your graduation robes and enter the stadium (you can hear the Trio from Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance No. 1” if you zoom in). You must wait for your Sim to complete the activity and reemerge. Be careful that you don’t interfere with this as some players have reported not receiving their degree and needing to revert to a saved game.
One oddball thing that I’ve encountered is that the option to invite friends and family to the graduation comes on Saturday, but says that graduation is “tomorrow,” which would be Sunday. This is not the case, so if you’re going to debate about doing the inviting, you might be running to the stadium before being able to do the invitations.
Also, if you invite members of your household to your graduation (like your Sim’s parents), they are not actually there and will not be controllable. In the screenshot below my graduating Sim is speaking with a Sim who is supposed to be her mother. However, her mother is a Fairy (note the absence of Fairy wings). I’m guessing that what the game does is grab appearance sliders and some wardrobe (the slacks and shoes are her Everyday outfit, but I have no idea where the top came from) and toss them onto a Sim as a nod in the direction of immersion, without actually getting there.
Getting a degree is financially worth the effort. A “C” average will start you at Level 2 in your career, a “B” average will start you at Level 3 (the “Honorary Degree” Lifetime Reward typically carries a “B” average), and an “A” average will start you at Level 4. Additionally, your GPA carries a multiplier for your Career salary (self-employed doesn’t have a salary). Because I’ve always worked for an A, all I can tell you is that a degree with an A should get you a 2.5x salary multiplier. My Level 6 Trauma Surgeon who graduated with an A average, for example, pulls down a bit over $2000 per day as compared to the $816 base salary. Bs and Cs would necessarily earn less than this.
After graduation, your college friends are still available for chatting long distance and you can always invite them to your home neighborhood. But unlike World Adventures, you cannot visit Sims Univerisity without enrolling again.
If you have or can get the funds, it might be a good idea to get rid of the low-quality beds, showers, stoves, fridges and the like in your living space.
- High-quality beds regenerate Energy faster and can give you a 10-hour +20 Well-Rested moodlet if you can fill that bar before the game automatically wakes you. Because your Energy regenerates faster, you can gain an extra hour or two of activity time by carefully managing your sleeping time and crashing in a really good bed.
- High-quality showers/baths regenerate Hygeine faster and relieve more stress. Unless you’re planning to spend a lot of time in the bathroom, Environment bonuses probably don’t matter. As with the bed, you can gain a bit of extra time each day by doing this.
- High-quality toilets (the Porcelain Throne, specifically), won’t break
- High-quality stoves will not give you the “Uneven Cooking” moodlet. This can be somewhat compensated for by having a high cooking skill and using quality ingredients, but unless you’re going to set up your own garden (or diligently tend the one behind The Grotto), you’ll be stuck with the Normal quality fare from the supermarket or fridge.
- High-quality refrigerators will not give you the “Tastes Like Fridge” moodlet when you eat leftovers. This can be worked around by pulling leftovers out of the fridge and placing them on the counter where the “Grab a Plate” interaction becomes available.
- Pleasant surroundings (Well Decorated and Comfy) will give a boost to your Studying. You can get much the same effect by doing your Studying in the Library.
On the topic of leftovers, doing your own cooking can also save time and money. Spend some time on Sunday night cooking up a meal (“Serve …” rather than “Have…”) and shove leftovers into the refrigerator. Repeat on Monday where you can fit it in. This can get you through to the weekend without having to spring 5 or 10 Simoleons a pop buying stuff from vending machines or snack bars and net you a “Good Meal” or “Great Meal” moodlet if your cooking skill is high enough. The stuff you cook on Sunday will likely be spoiling by Friday, but six meals per “Serve” is hard to beat.
I finally added Seasons to my installation and noted a problem with houses that have washing machines and dryers: Outerwear. During Fall and Winter, your Sim will change into their Outerwear outfit before going outside and into their regular clothing when they come inside. For the houses that have laundry facilities, you’re going to find piles of clothes all over the place unless you go to the trouble and expense of putting laundry hampers in just about every room. Not quite sure if having the “Fresh Clothes” moodlet is worth that hassle, but there you go.
University Life added the ability to run around in your birthday suit in all of its pixelated glory. There are a couple of differences at Sim University. The most obvious is that you can streak at almost any time and in almost any location, unlike your home neighborhood. You cannot streak when there are children or teens around and your home neighborhood probably has several. There are no children or teens at the University, so anytime and anywhere are pretty much fair game. Just remember: that which has been seen cannot be unseen.
Two new modes of death have been introduced:
- Blunt Force Trauma: this happens when a vending machine falls on you (trying to get freebies can be bad for your health) or when you get caught in the Murphy bed
- Rant Against Death: you pretty much need a couple of levels of Rebel influence (or to purchase the megaphone), but ranting or protesting against Death can bring the Grim Reaper to teach you a lesson. “Lesson” being you’re dead, term finished, reload a save or return to your home neighborhood (assuming you have other Sims in your family). Other players have reported that Grim will resurrect you at some later time, but it’s never happened for me.
Just as an aside, one of my Sims failed to complete a degree due to death on three separate occasions (we’re talking death, reload, death, reload, death, give up):
- Vending machine crushed her
- Rant against Death
- Electrocution from trying to fix a broken stereo
And with the “Lucky” trait for all three.
Not happenin’. Not only is the “Try for Baby” interaction not available at Sims University, but pregnant Sims cannot even enroll (the option is grayed out with the explanation that you are pregnant). If your non-pregnant Sim tries to enroll, your pregnant Sim will simply not be available to be added with no explanation given. This is not unique to University Life, though. Pregnant Sims may not travel in World Adventures, so it’s using the same logic here. On that same note, it would probably not be a good idea to take the “Have a Baby With…” wish while at university as it cannot be fulfilled until you return home.
This means that your woohooing is strictly recreational. If you want your college sweetheart to become something a bit more permanent, you’ll need to invite them to your home neighborhood. Keep in mind that college flings (developing a Romantic Interest) carries back to your home neighborhood with all of the potential for developing a “Cheater” reputation that goes with it.
On the Romance side of the coin, the only special relationships available are Romantic Interest and Boyfriend/Girlfriend. The “Propose Marriage” interaction is not available and, consequently, neither is getting married. My suspicion on the logic behind this is that your Sim is potentially isolated from the rest of the household and there is a limit to the number of Sims that can be in a household in the home neighborhood (seven, I think). While there are a few cheats out there to work around that limit, they have to take place in the home neighborhood. So Woo-Hoo with your sweetheart to your heart’s content while at university. When you get home, either send a break-up text or invite them to visit.
On that note, if your female Sim has a baby by her college sweetheart, he will appear in her relationships tab twice: once as a Sim in the home neighborhood and again as a Sim in a distant neighborhood. The relationship on which I’m basing that conclusion was kind of borked from stem to stern, but that’s how it also played out with some relationships developed in one of the World Adventures neighborhoods, so it seems consistent.
These may not be consistent from system to system, but they were worth noting:
- When another Sim starts a group influence activity (taking a selfie, for example) with you, queue up a different activity after the animation finishes, but before the activity finishes, and your Sim will continue to gain influence points for doing that activity. Basically you accrue influence for just standing there (at least until your hunger, bladder or energy runs out).
- When making friends with a Sim who is a member of multiple groups, the group with the highest score counts as that Sim’s group. For example, you have a wish to meet a Jock and you run into a Sim whose influence is 5 with the Nerds and 4 with the Jocks. This Sim counts as a Nerd. This is why the Level 8 trait gain is repeatable
- Multiple Sims may not enroll for different term lengths on the same trip. Either everyone is doing a one-week term or everyone is doing a two-week term. No mixing and matching.
- On the subject of marrying the college sweetheart, I ran into something with their relationships. Prior to marrying, my current Sim’s wife was friends or close to it with everyone at the Sorority House (she’d been living there for a couple or three terms). Upon marrying and returning to University for the final term, she knew no one. By the same token, all of my Sim’s previous friends and acquaintances disappeared, too. It could be glitchiness, but the only in-game event that would cause it was if everyone were to have graduated at the same time. It’s possible, but highly unlikely.
- As a follow-up to that, I loaded an earlier save, moved them to another town, and decided to do a short 1-course term by myself just to even up the course load when we get around to doing the final term together. My Sim still knew no one at the university (aside from the professor who always appears as an acquaintance when you first arrive), but found his wife, or the college sweetheart he married, living at the Sorority house. Her relationship status was Stranger and he picked up a Naughty reputation from romancing her, so my best guess is that when you invite a foreign visitor, it’s actually a copy of the original, who remains in the foreign location. Still puzzling over the change in relationship, though, because they were besties and going steady when he last returned to his home neighborhood.
- The game confers/awards degrees after 12 am on Saturday morning. If your Sim has a wish (Lifetime or otherwise) which involves getting a degree, it will complete several hours before the commencement ceremony at the Annex and you still don’t go home until Saturday night.
- I noticed in one game that playing the Guitar did not raise academic performance for one of the Sims (both were Fine Arts majors). When I took a closer look at what was going on, one had started a Jam Session and the performance bar was rising. The other was just participating in the session and their meter was dropping.
- If you haven’t noticed, Sims University has a few routing and pathing problems. Most of the time this is no big deal, but it can make getting to class on time a bit of a challenge. Commencement is something else entirely. If you really want your Sim to go into the rabbit hole to get their diploma, GET THERE EARLY! Sims will congregate around the single entrance, If it’s only a few, then it works like going to class (stand in line and wait your turn). But when the whole student body tries to shove through one door, you may end up standing out in the rain until your Sim heads to the home neighborhood at midnight.
I’ll add to the list as I find more strangeness.
More Oddness (and stuff)
One of my more recent households had a Sim whose Lifetime Wish was to get three degrees, so she had to spend multiple terms at Sim U. Over the course of getting her to that point a few more oddities showed up, so I’m adding these in case someone else runs into similar problems.
For my Sim’s first term, I had her rent the 2BR on the corner lot (I forget the exact name, but it has a detached garage and a fire pit out back). She was able to grab it again for the second term, which was when she finished her first degree. By that point, I had the house set up pretty much as I wanted with decent appliances, comfy bed, and the like. She even had a roommate to use the bunkbed and add a few Simoleons to the weekly budget. Upon arriving for the third term, however, no rentable houses at all (just some empty lots), so I moved her into the Sorority.
Housing – Keeping your House
The key to getting your house back is seems to be to remove the refrigerator before you leave at the end of the term. The game will not let NPC Sims move in when there is no refrigerator on the lot (and Sims won’t buy them on their own). Some players have reported that changing the lot type to “ownable” will do the same thing, but that did not work well for me. I used Edit Town before enrolling to add a house to an empty lot, set it up the way I wanted, changed the lot type to ownable, enrolled, and ended up with only the Sorority and dorms as available places to live. Some group of Sims had moved in while I was transitioning to Sim U.
Housing – Making a Sorority/Fraternity Work
First off, Sims in the sorority and fraternity (and I assume dorms) count as roommates, so they show up in your household panel, but you can’t do anything with them. They will take care of their immediate needs (subject to the automatic 0600 wakeup time), but will not pick up after themselves, will not fix anything that is broken (maybe if someone has the Handy trait?), and generally behave like the Keystone Kops.
This means that either your Sim has to take care of the stuff that they won’t or has to hire someone. You can deal with some of the mess by making sure that there are laundry hampers in every room, but that means that someone has to periodically do laundry (that would be your Sim). On the bright side, those roommates come back term after term, so it’s pretty easy to build up a pile of Old Friends by the end of the second term, which is great for socially-oriented Sims.
Lifetime Reward Goodness
My triple-degree-seeking Sim had some interesting wishes crop up over the course of getting those three degrees. First, she got a wish to complete a degree, which was worth 15,000 LTR points. After getting that first degree, and about halfway through the second one, she popped a second wish to complete two degrees (30,000 LTR points). At the start of the third degree, she popped a one to complete three degrees (45,000 LTR points). If I add all of those up (90K LTR points) and tack on the 35K for the LTW itself, that means I could have used 80K for an honorary degree and still been 45K points to the good.
I didn’t do that because (a) I was already at Sim U when the wishes popped and (b) I try to make sure my Sims complete with an A average and an honorary degree only carries a B average, so any related careers would start a Level 4 rather than Level 3. Now if I could just figure out how to make the game stop generating those “buy this” or “buy that” or “pillow fight with so-and-so” wishes, I’d be golden.
Original Link – Continuation of discussion