I am currently studying at Kenyon College, in Ohio and I can say that my experience thus far has been nothing but amazing. I transferred to Kenyon from the Singapore Management University (SMU), after I relinquished my SMU scholarship.
Liberal arts colleges in general provide a very high quality educational experience simply because most Americans pay over USD 45000 to attend these colleges each year. So you expect the facilities over here to be top-notched. Kenyon, for example boost a USD 70 million athletic center, which was just recently featured in The Chronicle (http://chronicle.com/temp/reprint.ph...1d50d3jsjl0zxy
). In addition to that, almost everything is provided for and I really feel well taken care of so far. The dining halls at Kenyon has nourished me well so far, although pasta or pizza gets kind of stale after a while.
In terms of academics, you will expect that classes are small. There's only 14 people in my english class (it's an introductory class mind you) and discussions are pretty intense. The main difference between liberal arts colleges and most big research universities is the fact that in liberal arts colleges, there is a de-emphasis on pre-professional programs, i.e. business and engineering.
You have the flexibility to craft your own education in a liberal arts college. There are of course both easy and challenging classes... for example, you can choose to enroll yourself in a physical education class for credits that count towards graduation. But you can also challenge yourself by taking upper level classes throughout your college career. But eventually, all graduates are expected to complete some diversification requirements, i.e. you must have like a unit worth of credit in areas like humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, fine arts and foreign language to graduate.
The professors are generally very approachable and teaching takes precedence over conducting research or publishing papers in journals. That's not to say that they don't... they still do, although not as frequent or heavily emphasized in most research universities.
The student population at Kenyon unfortunately isn't as diverse compared to most top liberal arts colleges, i.e. they are mainly white and they come from upper socioeconomic class. Most of my peers attended private schools (where it can go up to USD 30000 a year!) but this is true for most liberal arts colleges!
I am the only Malaysian represented so far... but the Dean of admissions told me that this year "we have a very strong applicant from Kuala Lumpur". But oh well, whether he/she enrolls is another matter. The good thing about being the only Malaysian is that I am forced to go out of my comfort zone to make friends with the Americans. I was just looking at my friend's Facebook (she's in the University of Chicago) and 80% of her friends or the people she hang out with are Malaysians/Singaporeans.
The best thing about Kenyon is the student population man. Although Kenyon isn't very diverse, it is a VERY welcoming community. And the word "community" over here isn't used in a trite way. And unlike Singapore, my friends never talk to me about GPA or "how I am going to be an investment banker and retire by age 30". But then again, that does not mean they aren't motivated. I was pretty much taken aback when 90% of my classmates come into class, having done their readings and readily contribute to class discussion! Surprise, surprise! The social scene here can be a bit boring man... because Kenyon is really isolated and going to Walmart is an outing. Friday nights are usually spent either working on a paper, going to a party and play beer pong or watching movies/play/basketball game/swimming competition with friends.
I hope this is helpful in providing an idea on how it is like to attend a liberal arts college. Feel free to ask questions.