I Recreated a Perfect High School Experience in The Sims 4

Rediscovering the Thrills of High School in The Sims 4: High School Years

Some of my favorite expansion packs for The Sims 4, such as City Living and Snowy Escape, not only enhance the gameplay but also introduce exciting new features. From taking Sims to karaoke nights and apartment living to embarking on thrilling snowboarding excursions, these expansions have truly brought joy to my virtual world. Recently, I delved into the latest expansion pack, High School Years, which breathes new life into the game with refreshing additions reminiscent of the perfect high school experience.

High School Years transports players to Copperdale, a new world that houses an intricately designed high school, pre-made families, and various areas begging to be explored. Among the highlights are the dockside amusement park and the unique combination of a boba tea shop and thrift store.

To fully experience the pack’s new elements, I decided to immerse my Sim in the complete high school journey, complete with drama, selfies, existential crises, and even prom night.

Disclaimer: The images used in this article are not final game footage and are subject to change.

Right into the Social Game

Starting my new Sim family’s adventure in Copperdale on a sunny Sunday morning, I was eager to explore the new side hustles available for teens. The expansion introduces two exciting options: Sim-fluencer and Video Game Streamer. These side gigs conveniently operate in the early morning or late at night, mirroring the time when real-life teenagers might pursue streaming or part-time jobs while attending school.

Paired with the new Teen Aspiration called Admired Icon, the Sim-fluencer side hustle motivated me to venture out and meet new people in town. One particular place I fell in love with is ThrifTea, a boba tea and thrift shop where Sims can create trendy outfits to sell on Trendi (similar to the real-world platform Depop). The thrift shop boasts a constantly changing inventory of clothing, some of which is even designed by Depop sellers in collaboration with the Sims 4 team.

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A Sim sits at a table with a boba tea in The Sims 4: High School Years.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Copperdale is also brimming with new social interactions tailor-made for a teen-focused expansion pack. While exploring, my Sim met several other teenagers, some of whom she engaged in flirtatious exchanges with. These interactions later led to adorable moments, such as my Sim confessing her daydreams about her crush to her mom after returning home.

Speaking of crushes, once my Sim began attending high school, she had interesting encounters with other Sims who caught her fancy. She had the opportunity to reveal her crushes and even ask potential prom dates. In cases where she developed feelings for multiple Sims, she could choose to move on from her crushes.

The introduction of the new world and social interactions in High School Years injected life into the game for teenage Sims. I thoroughly enjoyed watching my Sim interact with her peers, forming friendships, and navigating the complexities of teenage romance. The journey was complete with rejections, social awkwardness, and memorable moments captured in the boardwalk’s photo booth. Each interaction left my Sim feeling a mix of excitement and disappointment, depending on the outcome.

Off to High School

Eager to experience the academic side of high school, I followed my Sim to school on a Monday morning. To my delight, I discovered a small yet practical feature: each day of the week consisted of two classes, each teaching a different skill. For my Sim, Monday meant attending math and science classes that focused on developing her logic skill.

Although this may seem like a minor detail, it adds depth to the gameplay. Now, teens can work on various skills while attending high school, whereas in the base game, they can only improve their skills by doing homework after school.

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A Sim does homework at a computer in The Sims 4: High School Years.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

While at school, my Sim had ample free time to interact with fellow students and engage in various activities. The high school’s spacious basement housed a computer lab, gym, and chess club, providing Sims with multiple options for leisure time. Although I didn’t utilize these spaces during school hours due to the time it took for my Sim to walk to the basement between classes, I focused on making friends, studying for exams, and accomplishing school-related goals, such as befriending staff members or completing homework assignments.

Once the school day ended, the high school remained open as a hangout spot for Sims, which I found particularly enjoyable. Sims could participate in after-school activities, join clubs like cheerleading, socialize with friends, study, and take advantage of the school’s facilities. Additionally, they had the opportunity to ask their crushes to prom using promposal signs.

A Sim asks another Sim to prom via a sign in The Sims 4: High School Years.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Similar to other social events in The Sims 4, prom night comes with its own goal tracker, prompting Sims to dance, vote for prom royalty, and fully embrace the essence of prom. In my Sim’s case, she ended up attending prom with a different date than the one she initially invited, leading to a mix of jealousy and hurt feelings among the teenage group.

While I didn’t customize the actual prom event, I had fun experimenting with different setups for prom in the auditorium. The auditorium, much like the rest of the high school, can be entirely redesigned and repurposed, allowing players with a knack for building to explore a myriad of themes. This feature offers endless creative possibilities for those who enjoy personalizing their Sims’ world.

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High School Years is a delightful expansion pack that injects fresh elements into The Sims 4. The ability to set trends, shop at thrift stores, pursue side hustles, and engage in new relationships during the high school years brings a refreshing experience to teenage Sims. Prior to this pack, I enjoyed playing as teenage Sims, but the expansion greatly enhanced my enjoyment. My Sim’s high school journey involved diligent exam preparation, late-night existential musings while gaming for hours on end, and scrambling to find a new prom date at the last minute.

Comparing my own high school experience, which took place entirely online, to my Sim’s academic adventures, I couldn’t help but marvel at the relative traditionalism of her virtual school life. The irony wasn’t lost on me as I witnessed the virtual prom through my Sim’s eyes, finally experiencing the quintessential high school milestone.

The Sims 4: High School Years is available now on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

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