The Sims 3 University Life guide, part 2: general content

University Life, the latest expansion pack for The Sims 3, has just landed within the last few days, and there’s not much in the way of comprehensive guides out there. I’ve already posted Part 1 of this guide, covering the process of preparing for, enrolling at, and attending University; this part discusses the other new content in University Life, including social groups, new careers, new skills, new traits, new lifetime goals and rewards, and more.


New Content

The University Life expansion introduces a whole lot of new content for general gameplay, even if you never send a Sim to university. Here’s a look at what it includes.

Sims 3 - a Sim hard at work on the Group Science Project.

The Smartphone

The familiar Sims 3 cellphone has now been replaced with a smartphone. You can access this in the same way as your old phone, and it offers all the same features as well as a range of new ones.

  • Student Sims can use it to study.
  • You can use it to check your Sim’s Social Group standings.
  • Sims with the Social Networking skill can use it to text their friends, make blog posts, and perform other Social Networking skill abilities.

The smartphone starts out in basic black, and raising your Social Networking skill will unlock new skins for it.

Social Groups

Social Groups are a new feature in University Life. Most Sims now have a Social Group affiliation, which is a trait you can see when you hover over them – you can see whether they’re a Nerd, Rebel or Jock, and their standing within the group.

As you perform normal activities within the game, you’ll accrue standing with one or more of the social groups, depending on what you’re doing. You can see a list of activities for each social group within the smartphone interface, as well as your friends in that social group, your current standing and title, and other related stats.

Each social group unlocks a range of benefits for your Sim as they increase their influence. This includes a number of new social interactions (for instance, nerds can issue trivia challenges, while jocks can take selfies with the phone camera). Additionally, at level 8 you unlock an extra trait slot (which is in addition to the trait slot for graduating with a degree, for a total of 7 traits), and at level 10 you are offered a new career.

The main influence activities for each social group are below. In addition, hanging out with prominent members of a social group helps gain influence with the group, as does completing Opportunities for that group. Certain social interactions seem universally popular – chat, gossip, telling stories, telling jokes, giving compliments, pick-up lines, and gossiping about roommates – and should please members of any group. Some of these activities are specific to University, while others can be completed anywhere in the game.


  • Talking about degrees with other Nerds.
  • Showing other Sims gross videos on your phone.
  • Playing arcade and video games.
  • Performing scientific research, group science projects, solving equations on whiteboards, and throwing things into bonfires.
  • Talking about computer games, comic books, etc.
  • Using the Cerebralizer Brain Enhancing Machine.
  • Issuing and participating in Trivial Challenges.
  • Berating ignorance!


  • Goofing Around with other Rebels.
  • Daring other Sims.
  • Organising protests, making speeches, riling the crowds at protests, handing out protest flyers.
  • Adding herbs to recipes; burning herbs in the fireplace.
  • Drinking at the Barista Bar.
  • Using a megaphone to rant or proclaim love.
  • Dumpster diving.
  • Graffiti – tags and murals.


  • Goofing Around with other Jocks.
  • Take self-photos and pics with friends using the smartphone.
  • Play collegiate sports at the stadium.
  • Play sports: table tennis, bowling, frisbee
  • Playing Juice Pong and doing Keg Stands.
  • Attend bonfires and parties; host Bonfire Parties and Juice Keggers.
  • Perform the School Cheer.

New Skills

There are skill books available for all three new skills from your town’s bookstore.

The Science skill assists the Science and Medicine careers, and allows you to perform scientific experiments. You’ll need scientific equipment to work on, and you can get a science research station for your home in buy mode.

You can analyse collectable materials (plants, rocks, fish, and so on) to create samples, and then perform research on those samples to achieve scientific breakthroughs. At higher levels you can Correlate Scientific Data at your town’s Science Facility, and you can also make money by selling scientific samples.

There are two Skill Challenges for Science: Free Range Scientist comes from analysing 100 samples, and reduces the cooldown time before you can Correlate Scientific Data repeatedly; Experienced Experimentalist is awarded for completing 100 Experiments, and it rewards you with an achievement plaque and cash prize.

Social Networking
This skill allows your Sim to use their smartphone to make blog posts, take photos for their blog, text their friends and acquaintances, and browse the web and watch videos to entertain themselves. Increasing the skill level unlocks decorative smartphone skins, and will allow you to write more lucrative blogs. (You can only run one blog at a time, but when it’s sufficiently popular you can sell it and start a new one.) Bloggers also get donations from their followers, and at higher levels they can ask their followers for academic help.

The Social Networking skill unlocks the “Sim Finder” smartphone app. This allows you to define a range of search parameters to find Sims meeting the criteria of your choice – the perfect way to meet Sims who share your interests. At higher levels, you can also use the Relationship Transmogrifier to adjust the relationship status between any two Sims. You can create instant friends for yourself or any lonely Sim you meet.

Social Networking has three skill challenges. Blog Baron comes from selling the rights to five different blogs, and gives more donations from blog followers. Professional Greeter is achieved by meeting 25 different Sims with the Sim Finder and grants the “Excited” buff when you meet new Sims via the Sim Finder in future. Match Maker requires using the Relationship Transmogrifier to change 30 different relationships to Romantic Interest or Partner, and unlocks the ability to use the Transmogrifier’s “Best Friends Forever” option.

Street Art
You need a Street Art Kit to work on this skill. You can find Banky’s Street Art Kit in buy mode; sort by function, Entertainment > Skills. You can create ground and wall murals, and tag walls; first you reserve an area, then you decorate! You can also have a number of areas reserved at one time. Street Art can be cleaned away, and be careful when tagging outside the home – you may get caught by the cops.

Street Art has three skill challenges. Always Wanted comes from completing 5 masterpieces with Street Art, and allows you to create street art anywhere without permission or getting in trouble. Master Muralist requires completing 10 murals and increases your chance of future murals being masterpieces. Precision Sprayer requires completing 30 projects and speeds up future street art projects by 15%.

New Careers

The new careers are unlocked by reaching the top rank of influence with the relevant social group, and after you’ve unlocked them you can join them from the appropriate workplace rabbithole.

Unfortunately, the new careers don’t actually seem to be associated with any of the new degrees, despite being perfect for them. So graduating with a University degree is unlikely to give you any kind of boost in the new careers.

Each career also requires social group influence as one of its performance metrics, and some people have commented that this is a bit odd as you need the influence to unlock the career in the first place. However, be aware that influence will decay like relationship status if you don’t keep maintain it; you can’t just max out influence to unlock a career and then never do anything for that social group again if you want to advance in your career.1

Also note that if you leave one of these careers, the game doesn’t appear to let you rejoin it afterwards. This may be a bug.

Art Appraiser
This career is unlocked by reaching Rank 10 with the Rebels, and its workplace is the Warehouse.

Its core metrics are Rebel Influence and Mood.

    1. Eager Artist, $30/hour, Mon-Fri, 0900-1500.
    2. Savvy Scanner, $40/hour, Mon-Fri, 1100-1600. Adds Artwork Scanned as a metric. (See below for details.)
    3. Junior Consigner, $42/hour, Mon-Fri, 1100-1700.
    4. Transporter, $60/hour, Mon-Fri, 1300-1800. Adds ability to pick up Side Jobs from the warehouse. These are career opportunities which reward Simoleons and increase career performance. They’re a good way to make career progress on weekends.
    5. Master Transporter, $70/hour, Mon-Fri, 1300-1800. Artwork Scanning obligations double at this point.

At level 6 you can choose between Appraiser and Counterfeiter. Both paths still use Mood, Rebel Influence and Artworks Scanned as metrics, and both add Painting. Street Art may count for the Painting need; this is not confirmed.

    6. Apprentice Appraiser, $80/hour, Mon-Fri, 0900-1500.
    7. Snooty Surveyor, $175/hour, Mon/Tue/Thur/Fri, 1000-1400. Offers “Advanced Art Training” at the warehouse – see below for details.
    8. Conservation Specialist, $250/hour, Tue/Thur/Sat, 1000-1400.
    9. Authenticator, $404/hour, Mon/Wed/Fri, 1000-1300.
    10. Master Authenticator, $637/hour, Mon/Wed/Fri, 1000-1300.

    6. Apprentice Counterfeiter, $80/hour, Tues/Wed/Sat/Sun, 1400-1900. Includes a free artwork. Also seems to have the “Advanced Art Training” option.
    7. Cartoon Counterfeiter, $175/hour, Weds/Thurs/Sat/Sun, 1400-1800. Includes a free artwork.
    8. Signature Sneak, $264/hour, Tues-Fri, 1400-1800.
    9. Forger, $386/hour, Tues/Sat, 1000-1500.
    10. Master Forger, $526/hour, Weds/Sun, 1000-1500.

Scanning Artworks
After your first promotion you’ll need to start Scanning Artworks as one of your job performance metrics. The promotion gives you the ability to “Scan Art” using a Scanning Wand – this isn’t an inventory item, it just appears when you invoke the ability. Be aware, though, that there’s a cooldown after each scan while the scanning wand recalibrates. It takes about 15-20 minutes of game time to perform a scan, and the cooldown seems to be about 15 minutes of game time; it takes about half a dozen items (ie about three hours of scanning) to get your Scan metric up to maximum. Each promotion resets your Artwork Scanned metric back to the baseline, so you’ll need to scan again after each promotion.

You can scan various pieces of decorative furniture, such as screens, potplants, flower vases, etc. You can scan items at home as well as out and about, and you can even scan half-completed paintings that are still on their easels. Street Art murals and tags are also scannable.

Advanced Art Training
These are a series of opportunities requesting better and better paintings, available once you hit level 7 of the Art Appraiser career. You get them via an option at the Warehouse. The first asks you to paint a large picture worth 1000 Simoleons or more, and simply pays 2000 Simoleons in return. However, a new opportunity will immediately appear after you complete the first one, asking for a Large painting worth $1200; this rewards career performance as well. Once you’ve completed that, you’re immediately offered the opportunity for a Large painting worth $1500 – note that this is called “Masterpiece”, but the painting itself does not have to be of Masterpiece quality. This also rewards career performance as well as cash. The painting value refers to its original value, excluding any appreciation over time.

These opportunities are well worth doing if you have sufficient Painting skill. Each opportunity gives enough career performance to max out your bar from neutral before you even set foot in the door at work. For the most efficient use of these opportunities, carry the paintings in your inventory when you go to work; then you can hand one in after you’ve been promoted and top your performance bar back up to maximum again ready for the next day’s promotion.

Sports Agent
This career is unlocked by reaching Rank 10 with the Jocks, and its workplace is the Stadium.

It starts with the sole core metric of Mood.

Note that some of the Sports Agent actions which increase job performance don’t seem to properly update the meter immediately; the meter should be correct after a save and reload, and some other state changes will also force a meter refresh. If you’re performing an action that you think should improve career performance and nothing’s changing, try saving and reloading. Going to work also seems to refresh the bar, but that only works on work days, of course.

    1. PR Assistant, $30/hour, Mon-Fri, 0800-1400.
    2. Sports Analyst, $38/hour, Mon-Fri, 0800-1400. This is supposed to unlock the ability to Analyze Sports Statistics on your phone, but it’s actually found by clicking on your Sim. This also seems to improve your career performance.
    3. Recruiter, $50/hour, Mon-Fri, 0900-1500. Adds Relationship with Clientele as a metric.
    4. Assistant Negotiator, $71/hour, Mon-Fri, 0900-1500. Adds the option to “Negotiate Contract” when clicking on your Sim, which improves career performance.
    5. Agent of Truth, $110/hour, Mon-Fri, 1000-1530.
    6. Contract Shark, $182/hour, Mon-Fri, 1000-1530. Adds Charisma as a metric.
    7. Clientele Mastermind, $273/hour, Mon-Thurs, 1100-1630.
    8. Sports Host, $350/hour, Mon-Thurs, 1100-1600. Adds Social Networking as a metric.
    9. Legendary Sports Host, $400/hour, Mon/Tues/Thurs, 1200-1700.
    10. Team Owner, $810/hour, Mon/Tues/Thurs, 1200-1600.

Video Game Developer
This career is unlocked by reaching Rank 10 with the Nerds, and its workplace is the Office Building rabbithole.

Its metrics are Nerd Influence, Mood, and Playing Games.

Note that the Playing Games metric can be a bit tricky, and appear to be bugged when it isn’t. Put simply, there are actually two types of video games in The Sims 3, with two separate hidden skills. Arcade Games include freestanding arcade machines like Synaesthesia and Captain Starplanet, as well as playing games on your computer or laptop. Video Gaming, on the other hand, comes from using consoles like the Maxoid Game Simulator 2 1/2, the GUGA JoyToy 3 or the SimLife Goggles. Arcade Games (including computer games) do not count towards this metric; you need to play Video Games (i.e. consoles) instead.

    1. Game Button Tester, $26/hr, Fri-Mon, 1000-1600.
    2. Assistant Concept Artist, $35/hr, Mon/Tues/Thurs/Fri/Sun, 1300-2000. Gives a discount at Barista Bars.
    3. Quality Assistance Manager, $42/hr, Mon-Fri, 0700-1500.

At level 4 you can choose between Game Artist and Engineer. Both paths use Mood, Nerd Influence and Playing Games as metrics. Game Artist also uses Painting; Engineer uses Logic. (It’s been claimed that Street Art can substitute for Painting for Game Artists; my testing indicates that this doesn’t seem to be the case.)

    Game Artist
    4. Pixel Pusher, $51/hr, Mon-Fri, 0900-1700.
    5. Character Modeler, $68/hour, Mon-Fri, 1000-1700. Issued a free laptop; can work from home.
    6. Senior Animator, $104/hour, Mon-Fri, 1100-1700.
    7. Art Director, $147/hour, Mon-Fri, 1200-1700. Discounts on purchasing electronics.
    8. Lead Designer, $223/hour, Mon-Thu, 1000-1500.

    From this point onwards, Painting is removed as a metric and replaced with Writing.

    9. Executive Producer, $396/hour, Mon-Thu, 1100-1500.
    10. Game Studio Head, $990/hour, Mon/Wed/Fri, 1200-1500. This gives the option to “Hold Video Game Convention” at the Theater rabbit-hole, which takes several hours of gametime and rewards money.

    4. Code Monkey, $51/hr, Mon-Fri, 0900-1700.
    5. Game Programmer, $68/hour, 0800-1500. Issued a free laptop; can work from home.
    6. Senior Engineer, $104/hour, Mon-Fri, 0800-1400.
    7. Technical Director, $147/hour, Mon-Fri, 0900-1400. Discounts on purchasing electronics.

    From this point onwards, Logic is removed as a metric and replaced with Writing.

    8. Lead Designer, $223/hour, Mon-Thu, 1000-1500.
    9. Executive Producer, $417/hour, Mon-Thu, 1100-1500.
    10. Game Studio Head, $1011/hour, Mon/Wed/Fri, 1200-1500. This gives the option to “Hold Video Game Convention” at the Theater rabbit-hole, which takes several hours of gametime and rewards money.

New Traits

University Life introduces three new traits:

Avant-Garde: is a mental trait. Avant-Garde Sims will increase their Street Art skill faster, their paintings and sculptures are worth more, and they will sometimes “feel important” after critiquing other Sims. They also get two extra genres – Poetry and Satire – for Writing, at levels 2 and 4 respectively.

Irresistable: is a social trait. Irresistable Sims improve their relationships faster and are rarely rejected when they ask for favours or dates. This trait also increases other Sims’ desire to socialise with you.

Socially Awkward: is a social trait. Sims with this trait may have awkward moments when socialising with other Sims, and may ruin joke punchlines.

New Lifetime Goals

There are several new Lifetime Goals in University Life.

GoalCriteriaLifetime Happiness
Blog Artist
  • Reach Level 10 in Social Networking skill

  • Create a 5-Star Blog
Major Master
  • Earn three degrees
Perfect Student
  • Earn a degree with a Perfect GPA
Reach Max Influence With All Social Groups
  • Reach maximum influence with all Social Groups
Scientific Specialist
  • Reach Level 10 in Science skill

  • Reach Level 10 in any Scientific, Medical or Business career
Street Credible
  • Reach Level 10 in Street Art skill

  • Create 7 Masterpiece murals

New Lifetime Rewards

There are four new Lifetime Rewards in University Life.

Jock/Rebel/Nerd Influence: Costs 2,000.
There are three different rewards, one for each group, and each one rewards “a substantial amount of influence” with the relevant group. This reward can be chosen repeatedly. When they say substantial they’re not kidding; you can max out your influence from zero with about five of these.

Honorary Degree: Costs 50,000.
This rewards an honorary University degree without actually having to go to University. The honorary degree only counts as a “B” average grade, so you’ll only get career entry at level 3 instead of level 4, but it’s a way to get a leg up in a new career without spending several weeks at University.

New Supernaturals

There’s one new Life State in University Life: PlantSims.

You can’t create PlantSims through Create-A-Sim. Sims who take part in science experiments have a 20% chance to become a PlantSim, and a Sim can also become a PlantSim by planting a Forbidden Fruit and eating it. (If a PlantSim plants a Forbidden Fruit and picks the fully-grown result, it has a 50% chance of creating a baby PlantSim.) Forbidden Fruit seeds can be created by PlantSims, and by scientific experimentation.

PlantSims have slightly different motives – they don’t have Hunger or Bladder motives, for starters. Their Hygiene motive is replaced with Water, which is satisfied by coming in contact with water (swimming, showering, hot tubs, etc). Their Energy motive is met by Photosynthesising outdoors during the day; they don’t need to sleep.


Roommates are a new form of relationship in Sims 3 University Life. You’ll have roommates automatically if you move into one of the dorms at University, but you can also choose to have roommates in your normal town if you wish.

Roommates share a house with you, but you can’t control them like you can with other household members. You can invite a specific Sim to be your roommate if you have a good enough relationship, or advertise for general applicants via the phone. Roommates will pay you rent weekly based on the size of your lot and the number of people sharing it.

You can ask roommates to do things using the “Ask Roommate To…” social (eg clean up, cook dinner, etc). Of course, since you don’t control them, they may choose not to, so it’s generally a good idea, just as in RL, to choose Sim roommates with complementary traits. You can set bed ownership for each roommate, and lock your bedroom door with various settings. And you can, of course, kick a roommate out if they’re more trouble than they’re worth.

New Items

As always, there are a range of new items for furnishing your home, and new styles and options in Create-a-Sim. Cataloguing them is beyond the scope of this guide, but here’s a quick look at several of the important new items. Many of these are important for Social Group influence or University class activities.

Cerebralizing Brain Enhancing Machine 1.0 and 2.0 is (in its 1.0 incarnation) the special item for Technology students. The 2.0 upgrade has a lot of extra options, including viewing other Sims remotely.

Frequency Fun Mobile Radio Station is the special item for Communications students, and you can broadcast radio shows using it.

Internal Reflections Sketchbook is the special item for Fine Arts students. It’s a portable Painting item.

“Them Bones” Anatomy Skeleton is the special item for Science & Medical students, and also for Physical Education students.

Workforce Warrior Business Planner is the special item for Business students.

Banky’s Street Art Kit is required for creating Street Art tags and murals.

Salutary Speakers Podium can be used to step up and rant about the world, which is great for Rebel Influence.

“Me Too!” Megaphone allows you to take your angry Rebel rants out and about.

Instant Inspiration Whiteboard can be used for solving equations, drawing diagrams and giving presentations.

ZRX-9000 Science Research Station is almost essential for the new Science skill; it allows you to analyse samples and experiment on them, up to and including cloning.

Sports Equipment
There are a number of new pieces of sports equipment, starting with a frisbee and a hacky-sack. There’s also a soccer ball, table-tennis table, bowling lane, pool table and foosball table.

  1. Note that you can improve your group standing again if it decays, although it doesn’t allow you to re-select a different trait.

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8 Responses to “The Sims 3 University Life guide, part 2: general content”

  1. March 17, 2013 at 02:15 #

    Great post. Really useful & comprehensive. Just started getting back into The Sims 3. University was my favourite expansion of Sims 2 – this one looks amazing. Definitely on my wish list :)

    • March 17, 2013 at 16:31 #

      Glad you found it useful – I’ve really enjoyed this expansion, and I felt it had a lot of good content. Welcome back to The Sims! ;)

  2. Werebear
    March 19, 2013 at 20:09 #

    Had my sim join the Video Game Developer career. So far, I have not found a way to improve the “Playing Games” metric, which is now constantly on “horrifying”. Tried all consoles, as you mentioned, including the goggles, and played both online and offline for (in-game) hours on end — to no avail. Are you certain this isn’t a bug?

    • March 20, 2013 at 00:45 #

      Wow, that sounds really frustrating.

      When I tried it, I found that playing games on my laptop didn’t affect my Playing Games metric at all, but I switched to the GUGA JoyToy 3 console and the metric went up to full happiness and stayed there. As far as I’ve found, that’s the way it’s supposed to work; I suspect you’re bugged, but I haven’t encountered it myself. I’ve been very lucky with UL bugs in general, actually, but I know that it’s one of the buggiest expansions and a lot of people are having problems.

  3. Tannaz
    June 24, 2013 at 12:27 #

    Hi :) I was just wondering if you can see inside classrooms for University and inside resort buildings for Island Paradise without Ambitions, as well as controlling your sims’ actions while in class or at work in the resort again w/o sed exp pack?

    Also, since I couldn’t find any other place I could ask a question without signing up for the site, do you know where I can find a stable/safe/reliable/compatible mod for disabling aliens and unicorns from the game? Thank you so much for your time and answers!!!

    • June 28, 2013 at 20:34 #

      Tannaz, classes are a “rabbithole” like workplaces, so you can’t see inside them. I’m not sure about resort buildings – I don’t have Island Paradise yet.

      As for mods, I don’t use very many of them I’m afraid — I get mine from though, so I’d recommend checking there first.

  4. Random person
    March 1, 2014 at 10:52 #

    Hi. I was wondering on how to sell cheat sheets on this game. My sim made one, and now I can’t sell it. Can you please help? I’ve tried googling it, but to no avail. Thank you!

  5. zZHippieSlothZZ
    May 18, 2015 at 03:58 #

    In the sims 3 university life in sororitys all the other peoples panels show its really a noting how do I stop this?!

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