research your landlord
There are hundreds of landlords in State College and they run the gamut from national corporations to single unit owners. There are some simple tools available to help you check into a landlord before you rent a property.
Also, get information directly from the landlord about the places in which you're most interested. Ask your landlord for a copy of the lease, so you have time to review it before you go in to sign. Ask questions about things like payment and policies. Does the landlord accept credit card payments? Can roommates each pay separately, or is a single check required? Is the security deposit due when you sign, or before you move in? Are there other fees, and when are those due? Will you be able to tour the actual unit you'll be renting?
meet your roommate(s)
When you move off-campus, leases typically do not contain any flexibility for conflict between roommates. If you already know your future roommate(s), great! If you don't, consider meeting them in person. How well you know your roommate is a factor to consider in deciding what kind of lease you're comfortable signing. If you've known your roommate since first grade, you probably have no concerns about signing a joint and several lease. If you just met on Craigslist, keep in mind that this kind of lease ties you together financially and potentially leaves one roommate responsible for the other roommate's rent.
Some apartments offer roommate matching services. Ask questions: