<p>I think that the small liberal arts schools that I was looking at (and it sounds like you want) have a lot of things in common. They all have a similar teaching philosophy based in a liberal arts education (CC is a but different with the block schedule, but the main ideas are there). Now that we've established that, I think it is important to consider the aspects about each college that you can't really read on a website or college guide. I chose Kenyon because of the feeling I got when I visited here, but I'll do my best to compare.
Kenyon: There is a real community here that I really enjoy. The students are welcoming and nice. We have a lot of hipsters here, but most liberal arts colleges are full of them as well. Not too preppy, but people are generally fashion-conscious. Everyone I know has a close group of friends that share their interests (even though we have a huge variety of types of students). We have partiers and Star Wars junkies, people who are always working and people who seem like they never work, athletes and people who have only ever played quidditch as a sport so I'm not sure that there is a type, but it should be comforting to know that chances are there are people here who share your interests whatever they may be.
The workload can be pretty intense. It will depend on your specific schedule and major, but the professors will all expect a lot of work from you. It is a top-tier school, so you can expect lots of work, but a great education.
There is a party scene here, but I don't think it is anything more or less than most colleges. I talked a bit about it in my previous post, so check that out. In short, you will always be able to find something fun to do.
Bates: My impression is that Bates is a bit preppier than Kenyon (perhaps they get more preppy east cost kids? Not sure). It is pretty similar to Kenyon because it is also in the middle of nowhere. I think they have a more active Greek scene there (with a higher percent of the student body participating). I would think that the party scene would be similar to Kenyon, but I'm not sure. I would guess that there is also a lot of work. I guess the main difference is just the feel of the school (Kenyon is more spread out but it is all about the college here whereas Bates spreads in and out of the town it is in). Kenyon and Bates are probably the most similar and they are really common overlap schools. If you have visited both, then you should go off of your personal feelings on both. I really liked Bates, I just liked Kenyon more.
CC is unique. It is Colorado Springs, CO, which is a beautiful place. I'm from Colorado so I might be a little partial. Colorado Springs is a cool place to live. CC does have a block schedule (I can explain that if you haven't heard about it). The students are a little more hippie and liberal there. They are all active, and I think a lot of them take advantage of being in Colorado. It is tough school academically, but the block schedule has its own unique challenges. Again, I think the party scene there is pretty average, but you'd have to ask someone who goes there.
I actually stopped looking at Macalester because I didn't want to live in St. Paul so I don't know too much about it.
Honestly, the best way to make this choice is to visit everywhere and form your own opinion of what the school is to you.
If you have any other specific questions, let me know.