I'm on the waitlist of a top 2 program in my field which has a good track record of accepting waitlisted applicants. They told me to wait until April 15 and then I would hear from them. Interestingly, I got rejected by every other program I applied to, so I have no other place to go to. This is my second admissions season - I applied to PhD programs last year as well, got waitlisted from a couple top programs but it didn't work out.
I'm going to give up after this season if this waitlist doesn't work out. Is there anything I can do to maximize my chances of being admitted off the waitlist?
I don't want to seem obnoxious when I email the director of graduate studies at the university, so I don't want to talk about how I don't have any other plans or something like that, but what else can I do?
Being in the waiting list means you haven't been selected, but you came close. If some of the selected applicants declines the offer (because they got somewhere else), they start going down the waiting list.
At this point, there is nothing you can do to change the outcome. The ranking has already been set by Admissions, and the offers have been sent out to the lucky candidates. Just sit tight.