Every school’s waitlist policy is a little different. Nevertheless, if you are waitlisted, do not lose hope. Waitlist does not mean rejection. At some schools, as low as 10% of the students who matriculate are accepted off the waitlist. At other schools, as high as 50-60% of the students who matriculate are accepted off the waitlist.
In general, the higher ranked schools have less wait list movement while the mid to lower tier schools have tremendous waitlist movement. This is because less people withdraw from higher ranked schools. And these same applicants who were accepted at a higher ranked schools are withdrawing from other lower ranked schools. For example, Harvard has very little waitlist movement because most of the people who are accepted to Harvard actually choose to go to Harvard.
Although it is considered a “waitlist”, you do not want to simply wait around for a school to accept you. It is important to maintain contact with the schools you are waitlisted at, especially if any of these schools are your top choices. Do not let them forget you.