I am also from out of area, but not too far (Long Island, NY). I was also thinking about doing the craigslist thing, but found another couple of websites to be more helpful. I knew that I was looking for a type of apartment development that was around 30 minutes outside of Philly. So I went to one website first, apartmentguide.com, and put in Philadelphia, PA for my location and looked at places that were at least 20 miles outside of Philly. Then once I found ones that met what I was looking for, I went to apartmentratings.com and typed in the complex name. This website was very helpful because it was able to give previous tenants opinions and I used the overall percentage rating they give to guide where I was actually going to look at when I visited. Once I had a list of about 5-8 places to visit, I called each one up and made appointments to visit. I did all of that about 2 months ago and luckily found a place I loved. I hope these websites are able to help you and any fellow classmates with their apartment search!