You can reject college and start a job right away, but if you do that, you won’t be able to go back to college without quitting your job. An easy way to go is to join the military, but even if you enlist and make it to E-9 (Chief Master Sergeant, Master Chief Petty Officer, etc. depending on your branch of service), your salary tops out at a certain point, and won’t get any higher.
Keep the military option in mind if you get a degree and then have a rough time finding a job in your field. If you have a four-year degree, you can apply to join the four branches as an officer, which carries an upside of eventually making General and having an extremely high salary. You can build a big savings this way, get out eventually, and either go to grad school or start a career elsewhere.
Cars and Real Estate are your main assets. Cars don’t provide a big expense, so you can drive something expensive and still not fall too far behind. Watch out for buying too expensive of a house, though. Look at not just the mortgage but the expenses. If you buy too much house, your bank account will fall from year to year even with your salary, so sell the house and get into a new house if this happens.
Of course, the real fun in this game isn’t living a normal, successful, boring life. After awhile, that gets boring, and you’re going to want to try something risky. Before you do, make sure that you can handle the consequences. For example, if you try to propose a threesome with your spouse, make sure that your relationship is strong enough to handle it if he or she rejects you, because your relationship will drop precipitously if you’re rejected.
Going to the movie theater provides surprisingly large bonuses in happiness and other areas. You can only do this if you have an active internet connection though, because going to the theater will load an ad. You don’t need to do this in order to maximize happiness but it helps, and you can also build your relationship with a spouse or kid this way. Joining social media involves sharing the game; you can use this to post your progress in the game.
Surprisingly, going to the gym does not improve your looks very much; however, going to the plastic surgeon can. If you have a character whose looks rating is next to nothing, this is one of the few ways to improve their looks, but it also runs the risk of going wrong and dropping your stats. The other way is simply to let them age; oftentimes, their looks rating will increase rapidly as they get older. Other times, it won’t improve much at all. It’s mostly down to luck in that category.