Saturday, February 27, 2010

Education in Apple Valley, Part 4

What and Why
I decided to do a series on how education in Apple Valley works, especially with the forthcoming changes. We will explore education from elementary school to obtaining an advanced degree. I wanted to move away from excessive skilling in my game and focus more on character development. This serves two purposes, one, it allows me to hone in on each sim's individual personality and preferences, two, it prevents excessive success. Right now, most sims are able to obtain a level 7 job without any trouble aside from making friends. This leaves very little room for variety in the game and most sims are financially well off. To ensure that I stay focused on this, I have now decided to try and do away with most toddler skills-instead focusing on teaching them how to walk, talk, etc.

The primary ways of educating the sims in all levels of education are skills, hobbies and interests. I often refer to skills as scores on "skill exams" (the number of skill points they have in a certain skill) or "core skill evaluation"-CSE (the number of total skills they have). Hobbies and interests will also be referred to in a similar manner. Now that the background is out of the way, let's move on.

Bachelor's DegreeToday, we're discussing obtaining a bachelor's degree. Unlike in real life, students only get one chance to attend university for a bachelor's degree. If they decide not to attend university after high school, then there are no second chances.

Students attend Pierce University for their bachelor's degree. Currently the campus in within the hood which offers some options for students in terms of housing. Pierce University offers an array of extracurricular activities that students can get involved in. Students can join sports teams such as the championship soccer team, debate team, drama club, greek life and more! Pierce University also offers students chances to hold internship positions during summer breaks within thier major to explore career options. These internships are located both within the hood and in other nearby hoods.

I have limited access to Pierce University via three methods: entrance exams, cost, and space.

Entrance ExamsSims must have a certain score on their entrance exam (which consists of the summation of several scores, including skills, hobbies, etc) in order to qualify for entrance to the university.

High School GPA (3pts=A, 2pts=B, 1pt=C)
+ # Extracurriculars (1pt each)
+ # Skill points
+ # Hobby Points
+ # Years Work Experience
Entrance Score

Students must have a minimum of 15 on the entrance exam to qualify for admission to the university.

CostIf students meet the entrance exam requirements, , they must have funding for their
university degree-upfront. Yes, upfront. This forces my sims to really save and plan for university. This funding can come from savings, scholarships (MAXIS and
Apple Valley's) and/or loans. Currently tuition is §8000 for the entire degree.
Any grants earned during university are nullified either by making upgrades to
the campus or via family funds. Since the university is now within the hood,
students have more housing options. If they chose to stay on campus, the room
and board fee is §2000 for the entire duration.
- §8000 for tuition plus fees for private housing and board provided by the
-§10000 for tuition, room and board.
Students can earn the standard MAXIS scholarships and/or custom Apple Valley
scholarships. The Inter-hood Affiliate Scholarship is available for students from affiliate hoods and is a one time §1000. The Needy Sims Award is a renewable scholarship for §1000 a simyear. It is limited to students whose family pays Tier VI taxes (poverty level) or pay Tier III taxes (lower class) and their net worth is less than $10,000/sim. For example, the Doe family has a net worth of $40,000 however there are six sims in the family, which is less than $10,000 per sim. Their children would qualify for the scholarship until the financial circumstances change.

There are a few work-study options for students, including positions in the cafeteria, labs, gym, tutoring department and more. Finally there is a Military ROTC program (Verde Herendez took was the first to take this option). In exchange for a service commitment, the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program provides the student with full tuition and a stipend of $2000 for room and board. Students must take all required military courses and training along with their other college courses
and, upon graduation, enter the service as a commissioned officer.

SpaceOnce a student has passed the entrance exam and secured funding, then we look at if there is space in the university. I only have room for three males and three females to reside in the dorm, then students must reside at home or in an apartment. If a student can pass the first few hurdles, then as long as they find housing (including going to class from home) they should be able to attend.
During university students must pass their CSE with a score of at least 20 and their CIE with a score of at least a 5 in the area associated with their major.
Interests and Majors
Entertainment = ART /DRAMA/ LITERATURE
Fashion = ART /DRAMA
Study Aboard
Students also have the opportunity to study aboard in Kimikura. Students must apply for admissions to Kimikura University. Students must have a score of at least 15 on their entrance exam, at least a 3.0 GPA, and at least 15 skill points to enter.

+ # GPA points (4pts-4.0, 3.9 pts-3.9, etc)
+ # Extracurriculars (1pt each)
+ # Skill points (1pt each)
+ # Hobby Points

Each class is limited to two sims each.
Tuition for Kimkura University: §4000/year

Senior Year and Graduation
During a student's senior year they focus on perfecting their studies and finishing their senior project. Students are assigned a project depending on their major, for example art majors will need to present an art exhibit, science majors will need to publish a paper, etc. Senior projects have no effect on grades and serve to add more depth to game play. After completing their projects, students graduate with a Bachelors Degree and a dandy little diploma to hang on their walls. Their options have now opened to the darker green sections on the career table, but not the darkest green. Those options are reserved for those with an advanced degree.

In summary,

Bachelor's Degree
-20+ CSE on graduation
-MAXIS style
-senior year projects/internships
-interest generation 5+


  1. Wow! Do you refer to your notes a lot when you're setting up your students or is this all second nature to you by now?

  2. -Carla, I wish it was second nature! Nope, my notes and career table are up when I play the game ^_^ not to mention my resident's database.

  3. How you decide what major a sim will have?

  4. -pr3ttylilprobl3m, usually I see what major they roll for during thier sophmore year, otherwise I think of thier interests and personality and pick a major.

  5. What kind of senior projects do you do? Do all sims with the same major do the same project, or do you let each sim decide what they want to do?

  6. -pr3ttylilprobl3m, the senior projects depend on the major and the sim. For example, two art majors might have different projects (one does a collection of photos, since their focus is photography; while the other does a collection of vases since their focus is sculpture.)


Thanks for reading and commenting!


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