For many col­lege stu­dents, nav­i­gating the uncharted waters of off-​​campus apart­ment hunting can be a tricky and over­whelming task. That’s why North­eastern Uni­ver­sity is guiding stu­dents along the way.

Now in its fourth year, Off Campus Stu­dent Ser­vices is hosting a series of work­shops tai­lored to help stu­dents feel com­fort­able and informed throughout this process.

During one after­noon work­shop last month, stu­dents were pre­sented a check­list of crit­ical topics to examine — including deter­mining a budget, and thor­oughly reviewing a typ­ical lease. Later, the stu­dents posed ques­tions on the pros and cons of going through bro­kers, as well as how to make sure a rental apart­ment is up to code.

We go over the basics — ter­mi­nology, finding a good realtor, renters’ rights, what a lease looks like and how to select an appro­priate neigh­bor­hood,” said Gail Olyha, asso­ciate dean and director of Off Campus Stu­dent Ser­vices. “We help stu­dents nav­i­gate an apart­ment search in the very com­pet­i­tive Boston market.”

Among them were Kate Paulhus, Stephanie Shelton and Alexandra Beau­mariage — all third-​​year stu­dents inter­ested in living together off-​​campus. On why she attended, Beau­mariage was direct. “I don’t want to get in over my head,” she said.

Paulhus said the work­shop opened her eyes to a host of issues she’d never even con­sid­ered, such as looking for prop­erly installed smoke alarms. “I def­i­nitely rec­om­mend this for people looking for off-​​campus housing,” she said.

The series — themed “Apart­ment Search ’11: Look Before You Leap”— con­tinues throughout Feb­ruary, with sim­ilar “Apart­ment Hunting 101” work­shops sched­uled for tomorrow, Feb. 10, and onFeb. 22. An Apart­ment Fair on Feb. 16 will also link stu­dents with local real­tors invited by the university.

Visit http://​north​eastern​.edu/​o​f​f​c​a​m​p​u​s​/​p​r​o​g​r​a​m​s​/​i​n​d​e​x​.​h​tml for more information.