The Sims 4's newest Expansion Pack, Discover University, takes players back to school with a host of new features that let Sims experience all the familiar joys and woes of college life, from cramming for exams to having awkward dorm parties at inconvenient hours of the day. It is the eighth expansion pack for the Sims 4 and one that fans have been anticipating for some time.
The Sims 4 Discover University takes Sims to the college town of Britechester, where they can enroll in one of two universities: the University of Britechester and the Foxbury Institute. In addition to providing a full college experience, Discover University also offers a wealth of new clothing and customization options to help your Sims fit in more in their new college environs, as well as the ability to live in an on-campus dorm in order to more accurately simulate college life.
The town of Britechester is split into three areas: the two aforementioned colleges and Gibbs Hill, a small neighborhood nestled between the two of them. Gibbs Hill is a quaint little town that serves as the residence for any Sim who wishes to live off-campus. It also houses a small library and a pub. The main attractions of the expansion, however, are the universities. Both are very distinct; Foxbury Institute is a sleek, high-tech school with a futuristic, new-age look, while the University of Britechester is a much older college, with ivy-encrusted stone walls and an antique medieval look.
The enrollment process takes a few days and tuition fees can be paid out of pocket, by setting up a student loan payment, or by qualifying for a scholarship. This is a much simpler process than it is in real life but the process of puzzling out finances for one's education is still awfully familiar. Once a Sim is enrolled they can either stay in their off-campus accommodations or move into a dorm. Both colleges have two dorm buildings, as well as a smaller residential university housing option.
Dorm life is clearly the intended experience for this expansion; your Sim is furnished with a whole floor full of roommates to interact with for the duration of their academic career, though they can move between terms if they (or rather, you) so desire. Living on-campus comes with a caveat; you cannot enter build mode to alter your dorm. You can only decorate it with objects your Sim can hold in their inventory and place in-world themselves. These include several new options, however, like mini-fridges and microwaves, which can be bought from on-campus kiosks. These additions not only make your dorm feel more like a dorm, but are worthwhile purchases, as the dorm has no kitchen. Meals can also be obtained from the campus commons for free, but it's a bit of a jog, and food service only operates at specific times.
When it comes time to enroll, you can choose the number of classes your Sim can enroll in per term; anywhere between one and four. While all of the classes associated with your chosen degree are predetermined, if you select less than four of these you can fill the difference with electives to allow your Sim to branch out into different fields.
College terms in Discover University last five work days, at which point your Sim can re-enroll and even change their intended degree. You don't get to observe your Sims taking their classes; going to class is treated like going to work, and while you can set how your Sim behaves in class, this is the extent of your involvement, and unless you tell them to sleep through their class the impact seems somewhat minor. The rest of your Sim's college life is quite in-depth, however. Between classes, your Sim can hang out at the commons with their friends, have a party with their roommates, or even play table tennis or "Juice" pong. Each college also offers a selection of student organizations for your Sim to join, giving them access to even more tasks and goals. Between all of this and finding time for homework, life on campus is rarely dull.
Discover University comes with some minor frustrations. It can sometimes be difficult to get your Sim to class on time; sometimes they will prioritize something surprisingly minor instead. This is especially true of morning classes, and it can be stressful to see your Sim running to school with a full bladder and an empty stomach, but at least this is a reasonable facsimile of taking an 8 AM class in college. It is also sometimes hard to take part in on-campus events; while notifications will inform you when an event is happening and where, there is no way to automatically have your sim join it, and while the notification may plainly state that School Spirit Day is currently happening on the quad, it's a frustratingly common experience to scroll over with the camera and view a hauntingly empty quad, totally devoid of any school spirit.
Despite these minor flaws, The Sims 4 Discover University remains a charming expansion with a surprising amount of content. It offers a wealth of things to do and a delightful simulation of college life that manages to avoid sacrificing fun for authenticity, while at the same time delivering a memorable college experience that will leave players nostalgic for their own college experience.
The Sims 4 Discover University Expansion Pack is available on PC and releases on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on December 17th. A digital PC code was provided to Screen Rant for purposes of review.