Summer is a great time to look for an apartment in Providence. If you start your apartment hunt around June, you should have time to look at several great options. Even if you're moving to town in the fall, this should still afford you enough time to find the best place for your needs.
Providence landlords want to rent to respectable clients. You need to convince them that you're a responsible and worthwhile tenant. Great references are the best way to do this. You need to have someone else's word to convince your prospective landlord that you would be the best possible resident in their building.
Providence has a very modern and efficient public transportation system. RIPTA operates a very comprehensive bus network that reaches most of the city, and the downtown center is served by a natural gas trolley line. The city is well designed to be walker-friendly as well. Getting along without a car is perfectly possible in Providence.
Providence has a surprising live music scene that features great national and international acts as well as many local musicians. Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel is a historic venue that everyone should see once. Check out the waterfront on a summer weekend for Waterfire, a local tradition. For shopping or dining of all shapes and sizes, head downtown. For a great student bar and live music, hit up Bradley's on Admiral Street.