Accommodation is very difficult to come by in Paris, especially for students who are only studying abroad for one semester. It is also quite expensive. Sadly, that is the reality of living there!
It is best to arrive in Paris and stay in a hostel. It is much easier to find an apartment once you are in the country. You can look on Gumtree, Craigslist, or go to the American Church who usually advertise apartments for rent.
Not many people live with others as the majority of apartments on the market are one bedroom apartment which is something to consider if students are hoping to live with other people. Also, a lot of French students live with their families. A home stay is also a good option.
Watch out for scams. Never put down a deposit for anything that you’ve not seen. Paris is notorious for scamming people with accommodation. It nearly happened to me as I was really desperate for a place to live. Is an apartment looks too good to be true, or something doesn’t feel right, the likelihood is that it is a scam.