Colleges have used their waitlists heavily this year to help meet enrollment numbers leaving many students and families wondering why. In the past few years, it has been especially difficult for colleges to predict who will accept their offers for admission, much of it due to this year to uncertainties related to the pandemic such as financial and distance from home. Every college has certain academic, demographic, geographic and other factors they use to fill their classes. If they are not meeting these numbers in April, they will begin to pull from their waitlist, otherwise, they will wait until after May 1 (the deadline to deposit at a college) before going to their waitlist. If there are a lot of students graduating in a particular major, they may take more incoming freshmen for this major.
Students should decide if they want to stay on the college's waitlist by opting in and providing any additional information they may not have sent. Bottom line: do what the college is asking for if waitlisted. They should deposit at a school they were accepted (and want to attend) then sit and wait. They should not call or email admissions daily as this will only annoy them. Finishing up strong, studying for AP exams and doing well in classes is important.
Waitlists are not fun but a reality that is likely to stay.