New Sims 4 Expansion Pack Tries to Make High School Less Terrible

Sims 4 High School Years is available to play now.

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Shelby Brown (she/her/hers) is an editor for CNET's services team. She covers tips and tricks for apps, operating systems and devices, as well as mobile gaming and Apple Arcade news. Shelby also oversees Tech Tips coverage. Before joining CNET, she covered app news for Download.com and served as a freelancer for Louisville.com.
  • She received the Renau Writing Scholarship in 2016 from the University of Louisville's communication department.
Shelby Brown
4 min read
Sims 4 High School Years Still

The new Sims 4 expansion gives teen Sims a high school campus and a ton of new activities.


Still cringing over your angsty, embarrassing high school years? The upcoming Sims 4 expansion pack, High School Years, lets you take another shot at cultivating your ideal coming-of-age experience. The new pack is now available on Steam, Origin, PlayStation and Xbox. 

Ahead of launch, Sims 4 developers held a preview demo showing off a whole new realm of gameplay for teen Sims. High School Years looks like it'll check all of the teen milestones. Until now, players have had to rely on mods, the Teen Hangout Lot trait and imagination when it came to having a dynamic experience with teen Sims.

As a fan of legacy challenges, I'm excited to see how the new expansion pack and update will add another level of detail to gameplay and give my Sims a meaningful backstory. According to the developers, the High School Years pack was inspired by teen drama shows like Riverdale and Euphoria. Because the pack mostly expands on a stage of your Sim's life, the possibilities are endless when it comes to interactions with other released packs. 

The number and depth of additions, as well as the scheduled base game updates, makes High School Years one of the most feature-packed expansions Sims 4 has ever given us.

Sims 4 High School Years Still

No more sending your teen Sims to school with no control over how the day plays out. 


 Here's what players can look forward to in the new pack.  

Class is in session at Copperdale High

High School Years introduces the world of Copperdale with seven new lots, like Copperdale High, local hangout ThrifTea, a library and the high school principal's mansion. When your teen Sim's school day starts, you'll get a prompt to join them at school or send them alone – similar to certain careers in the Sims 4 Get to Work pack. 

High School Years actually lets you see the inside of Copperdale – even the classrooms. This is a feature I always wanted when playing Discover University. Your Sim can still participate in class, do homework, study and take weekly exams, but now your teen Sim will gain skill points from being in class. Before, players would need a separate mod for this. 

According to developers, the high school lot is fully customizable. If class isn't in session, you can completely remodel the school in Build Mode. 

After the bell rings

Class and studying are just one part of the High School Years pack. Unlike Get to Work, after the school day wraps, your teen Sim can hang around campus. The pack will offer after-school activities like cheerleading, sports and chess club. Teen Sims will also have new school-related calendar events. If you join the football team, for example, you'll have new interactions with teammates, the risk of rivalries and more. 

Two teenage sims dancing together at prom

Make it a night to remember and organize the perfect prom.


Your Sims can also experience perhaps the two most quintessential high school events: prom and graduation. These events are also customizable with special interactions, like voting for prom royalty, asking your crush to the dance, becoming class valedictorian and more. 

Your teen Sims can also hang out off-campus at popular spots like Plumbite Pier and thrift store/boba tea cafe, ThrifTea. The pier is an ideal date spot for teen Sims, complete with new Woohoo locations like the haunted mansion, tunnel of love and the ferris wheel. Just be careful not to get caught! 

More expression for teen Sims 

In addition to teen milestone events like prom, sneaking out after curfew and pranking classmates, you can also give your teen Sim a more fleshed out personality. The pack includes new teen-specific aspirations like Drama Llama, Admired Icon, Goal Oriented and Live Fast. 

These aspirations, as well as the choices you make in high school, affect the rest of your Sim's life. For example, skip too much class and you might get expelled. Without a high school degree, you'll be barred from university or certain careers. But don't worry -- if your troublemaker Sim has a change of heart, they can finish their high school years online. 

A bunch of teen sims showing off their new styles

Give your teen Sims their own distinct style and who knows -- they might set a trend in the neighborhood.


The pack comes with a slew of new Create-A-Sim items to nail your teen Sim's aesthetic. As a bonus, there's also a chance your Sim will set a new fashion trend in town. If you're successful, you might see classmates or townies wearing your outfit. And every teen's sanctuary – their bedroom – will also have dozens of new ways to personalize.

Players can also fully lean into the awkward teen years with body hair and shaving options, acne and a wants and fears system, which are moment-to-moment goals for your Sim, like Whims. 


Design your teen Sim's bedroom to be as unique as they are.


The pack will also let you set your Sim's sexual orientation. This will arrive in a base game update, like the ability to customize your Sim's pronouns. The sexual orientation update not only builds out your Sim's story, but it also impacts other Sims. When you interact with other Sims, it's less possible to spam interactions until you get romance options. You can even customize your Sim to be asexual or aromantic. According to developers, these updates will allow for LGBTQ+ players to see themselves better reflected in gameplay. 

Check out the trailer here:

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