Finding housing in Charlottesville can be something of a challenge. However, there are some apartments that are rented primarily to students, and several of these units free up every May. If you can choose the month to look, that is your best bet.
Because the two and three bedrooms are so much more affordable here, you should find roommates if you want to keep your costs low. However, make sure you vet roommates the same way your landlords will vet you. Make sure you're applying with responsible people capable of making their rent payments. That will improve your chances of getting the apartment, and avoid potential issues further down the road.
Driving to the University is chancy because of how hard it is to find parking. However, there is a trolley that makes laps between downtown and the University most of the day. There are also busses that ferry students between the different parts of the University, some of which are spread out a great distance. The CAT system also has busses operating throughout the city.
Touring the local historic sites can be nearly endlessly fascinating in Charlottesville, but if there is only one that you absolutely must see, it is Monticello. This was the home of Thomas Jefferson, and is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in the state. Students often hang out around "The Corner"; a great place to shop or dine locally that is right next to the University.