Hands On The Sims 3

The Sims 3 University Life Hands On

Written by sww

This latest expansion pack has a lot of gameplay and a lot of content, much more than I could discover in roughly 3 hours. In this hands on I tried to get you all mostly facts, as there was a live chat planned around the same time my Dutch event was going on, even though that did not happen we will still get to see it in the near future! Please ask us on Twitter if you need any translations.

Create A Sim

There are quite a few new CAS items, and I noticed that it included some really good clothes and hair for men. This is not always the case in the expansion packs so I was pleasantly surprised. I took screenshots of all the CAS content, which you can see in this gallery.

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Going to university

To go to university all you have to do is get your new fancy smartphone and say you want to register for university. You can study Art, Science&Medicine, Communications, Physical Education And Business. To graduate you need 48 points, during one semester you have to get at least 6 points but can choose to get 18 points max, one semester is 1 week but you can sign up to do 2 semesters (weeks) in one go and get 36 points (or 12 points and take it easy). Young adults to elders can go to university, not teens like in the sims 2. While at uni in theory you are there to get an education. If you do well you can get a headstart in your future career (start on lvl 4 instead of 1). The degree you chose has influence on what career it has perks on, see this table:

DegreeBenefits Career
BusinessBusiness and Criminal
TechnologyLaw Enforcement and Military
Science & MedicineScience and Medicine
Physical EducationAthletics maybe?
CommunicationsPolitics, Journalism and Fortune Teller
Fine ArtsNot Sure which career?

Besides a headstart, it can also lead to increase in salary.  This can make university interesting for adults already in a career path.


The new town itself is a smaller version of a regular new world, it has a small town area where everything is a walking/cycling distance away. I took a few screenshots of the town while flying over it.

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Dorms or renting a house

As students cannot afford to buy an entire house, you can rent a house! The highest price I’ve seen was 1636 simoleons / week. The amount of rent depends on the house value. Side Note: You can also rent properties in your home world.

In The Sims 3 University Life, dorms are free to live in! They also give your Sim a plenty of opportunities to meet other Sims and socialize with them. When you arrive you have to pick a bed for your Sim (not an entire room like in The Sims 2). A dorm is just a basic house with several Sims though you only control those in your household.

In The Sims 2, my Sims used to work in the cafeteria in their dorm to earn some extra money. Sadly that isn’t possible in The Sims 3 University Life as there’s no cafeteria in the dorms, there is a regular kitchen. However, there are other ways to earn some extra money in The Sims 3 University Life – to start, just have a look at the job board.

Job Boards

Technically the job board is not all about jobs, it’s also about finding opportunities to gain social group progress with one of the new social groups (more later). For instance my Sim got a dare to eat cinnamon (one of the new herbs), if he did it he would gain favour with the Rebels (see this page why this is a rebellious act). My other Sim got a job to check the exams for a teacher to earn some money. You can also get social group jobs, but I do not have an example of that. All these jobs and challenges only last 1 day, so do them fast!

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Social Groups

University Life comes with new Social groups. The rebels, nerds and jocks. These Social groups also work in the homeworld, not just at uni. If you are really high within a social group you can unlock perks like new interactions or even a special career. To gain favour with the nerds, try some video games or challenging another nerd sim to a knowledge quiz. Rebels like you to eat some of the new herbs or organize a protest. Jocks like bowling or table tennis. You are not limited to being in 1 social group, you can be a sporty, nerdy rebel. Being in a social group also has some other perks, like my rebel Sim could look for exam answers on the computer.

You have to check your smartphone for your current standing with the different groups:

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You are at uni to actually get an education, right?! In the education panel it shows you (sorry the screenshot is in Dutch) how to increase your education level. The ways are Skills/Objects, Exams, Studying, Going to Class. Art Students education benefit with these skills: Street Art, Painting, Cooking and Guitar. Science Students education benefit with these skills: Science, Gardening and Fishing. Science students can also increase their education with using the new anatomy item.

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Mentioned it earlier, but we have a new Street Art and Science skill. Personally I am a little bit of a Science nerd, having a BSc in Chemistry – how can I not be. So that my Sims can now have the Science skill makes me SUPER excited.

Sims can analyse different products like fish, veggies, insects and get samples from them which can then be sold at the science lab. Sadly did not have enough time during the hands on to truly play with this skill.

Street art, you can paint on walls and the ground. Funny thing is, your Sim is such a good little Sim with this that she tapes off the area where she is going to paint so that she doesn’t go outside the lines 😉

Do be careful because Street Art IS vandalism and the campus police can yell at your Sim for it. Fun Trivia thing I noticed here, the Street Art kit in dutch is called Banky’s Straatkunst kit, translation: Banky’s Streetart kit. Banksy (with an s) is a very famous Street Artist in the UK, who makes cool looking and slightly illegal street art in Bristol and other places.

Social Network skill, yes it really is a skill! You can blog, with pictures, and other Sims can like your blogs. And the most hilarious part of it, you can ask your followers for donations or sell blogs! This skill also increases by texting, streaming video, using the smartphone. Every Sim will get a smartphone instead of the old telephone that you used to call with, who calls any more any way?

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  • There is a new dooms day machine (didnt get the real name for it), using it raises the new science skill and can give you a boost-brain moodlet (can learn skills faster) or a braindead moodlet (does not help your academic skill).
  • There are vending machines, you can buy (or steal) candy bars. If you steal by shaking the machine, be careful it does not fall on you (the ghost colour was red/orangey)
  • Candy bar gives you a sugar boost and a +15 moodlet
  • You can clone a sample with the science skill, the lessons even hinted that you can clone a baby!
  • New community lot buildings: mixed dorm, female dorm (sorority?), male dorm (fraternity?), student union, coffee shop, rebel hangout, university hangout spot, nerdshop (can buy comic books here), arcade.
  • Eating herbs can give you a herb-nauseous moodlet.
  • Hip Sims can feel very important (a moodlet).
  • If you want a roommate in your house, you can find one through the real estate menu.
  • There is a death by Murphy bed but I have not managed to get it to work, it fell on my Sim many times but she just would not die.
  • Good relationship with your teacher can help a little bit, but it sounded like it doesn’t help as much as in ts2 days.
  • There are 17 new herbs (sorry, only have half the English names): Basilicum, Bumbelblad, Buzzbes, Cortadoboon, Licorice,  Ginseng, Green leaves, Camille, Cinnamon, Konaboon, Lavender, Mauiboon, Midnightbean, Peppermint, Red Berry Bean, Wonderbloem, Zoetgras.
  • Can protest all these causes: Astronauts, Atoms, Sculpting, Architectural Designer, Firemen, Clowns, Computers, Doctors, Unicorns, Photography, Handcuffs, Beetles, JellyFish, Low Salary (Chance that your Sims’ salary increases), Llamas, Masks, Criminals, Nectar, Nessie, Unfair Grading (Chance that your Academic Score increases), Police, Private Investigators, Rings, Painting, Radiation, Stylists, Talentless Sims (Chance that your skill learning will go faster), Too little Happiness (Chance that you get more happiness for a few days), Gardening, Invention, Fishing, Too few resources in the world (Chance that finding gems/insects/etc will be easier) and Yeti.


I am player, not a builder or decorator, I love expansion packs that give a lot of game play and this expansion pack gives that. I have barely scratched the surface during this hands on and this is also with looking over my fellow dutch community members shoulders. I am going to enjoy the new social groups, careers (yay finally some new careers!), the academic challenge and science skill! I am most excited about the science skill but the  social network  skill looks to be good too.

For those wondering if this EP adds enough if you do not want to send your Sims to university – YES.
You have social groups which can lead to new careers, new skills, herbs, PlantSim and a ton of new clothes and objects.

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  • hey,
    hebben jullie misschien ook iemand nodig die deze dingen vertaalt, of opzoekt ofzo, want veel van die bes namen bijv. weet ik in het nederlands. Ik doe zelf nu twee talig onderwijs, en ik zou graag willen helpen, gratis. Dus laat me maar weten.

    • Hoi! Bedankt voor je aanbod, het probleem met dit artikel was voornamelijk dat ik alle engelse woorden in Studentenleven niet wist. Het spel dat ik speelde op de Hands On event was in het nederlands en veel van de namen zijn nog niet bekend 🙂

      Maar als je voor je opleiding (misschien extra punten voor Nederlands?) wat vertaal werk wil hebben kan ik je daar zeker mee helpen 🙂 het is niet leuk voor je om veel vertaal werk te doen voor niks!

  • I got all the sims 3 games and towns, but university is making me crazy i don’t know what world to play it in it does not loud any of the university stuff like campus the university nothing. I do like what you say about it is i ever get it to loud the town right

    • Imagine the university campus area like a new sub-world, like France/China/Egypt in World Adventures. You make a Sim at home (Sunset Valley for example) and then with a phone call enroll them into University. It is not a new home-world like Sunset Valley/Appaloosa Plains

  • Hi 🙂 I was just wondering if you can see inside the classrooms of University and resort buildings of Island Paradise without having the Ambitions expansion. This also entails controlling your sims’ actions while in class and at work in the resort w/o sed exp pack. Oh, and if you know where to find a reliable, compatible, safe, and sturdy mod for disabling aliens and unicorns from Seasons and Pets, PLEASE let me know! Thanks!!!

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