Peru's higher education sector faces a high dropout rate and a low retention rate, especially in private institutions. The research conducted by Superintendencia Nacional de Educación found that 27% of the students who access university studies drop out during the first year. Although these studies have revealed the challenges, perceptions, and reasons why students dropped out of University, not much has been done to overcome or to prevent this situation. Thus, it is crucial to know how to assist and guide first-year students to favorably adjust to the university setting. The objective of this research is to determine what internal and external factors allow new students successfully adapt to the university environment. Identifying these factors is necessary because they could help and guide new student groups. One hundred and sixty-eight students of the first-year of the Catolica de Santa Maria University (Arequipa, Peru) were the participants of this research. Students from Industrial Engineering (81), Mining Engineering (22), Systems Engineering (18) and Architecture (47). To collect data a questionnaire with 10 questions (closed and one-option type questions) and a focus group with 32 students were used. The content analysis was made using a three-stage open coding process to classify the findings into topics and subtopics. The findings revealed that 1 of 3 students had several difficulties to achieve a successful transition. In addition, they presented a low performance in one or more courses at the end of their first year of study. Four general identified factors enabled them to adapt and to integrate into the university environment successfully: family support received during the first semester of studies, competencies acquired in high school, the performance as a student in university and the objective proposed by the university student during the first semester of studies.